This is sort of a question and sort of a proposal for a project.  The other day it occurred to me that wikis are just like giant diagrams with a lot of text, so why can’t we build wikis that are literally giant diagrams that rely more on images rather than text?  I think that it would be interesting to put together a program that allowed users to manipulate images and link to them by creating image map hotspots within the wiki.

I see several obvious applications of this.  First, it would be really cool to be able to create a diagram of something and be able to add infinite detail.  From a design standpoint, what if you created the floor plan of a house, and then you could click on each room to get a better picture of the interior design elements, and then click on a specific object, like a chair, to get an image of the upholstery pattern or specific item that the interior designer wanted to use.  Then, maybe, the colors or motifs in the design of that item could link to other items that might be used in the rest of the room.

Second, I think there is an interesting potential for collaborative art-making.  If I could post a piece of work that I had created (either intentionally for an art collective wiki or otherwise), it could serve as a kind of prompt.  If another artist created something in response to that piece, or maybe just using motifs or elements from it, they could upload their image, define a hotspot around something specific they are responding to or using in their own work, and create a web that way.  It would be possible to link from multiple images and link to multiple images.

I did a little research and I found wikimapia.org, which uses Google Maps to create a giant tagged map of the world, and if you zoom in you can get smaller regions, too.  I tried zooming in on my neighborhood and there was even a tag for the Mexican restaurant next door to my house.  As far as I can tell, though, there doesn’t seem to be anything which allows users to define hotspots within specific images and link to a page of new images.

Does anybody know of a site that will allow you to do that?  I’d really like to see it and maybe use it for an art project.  If there isn’t one that exists, then why the heck isn’t there one?  Do you think this would be a useful tool?

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