The 'Scape

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The 'Scape

OK, so what's a 'Scape?

'Scape is short for 'landscape' - the field, mountains and sky. It's where the 3D representation of your information is shown. Topicscape has two windows: The 'Scape window and the Topic Centre window.

One Topicscape is a single database plus all the files and scraps of information you have decided to collect together in one place. Each database is collected around a 3DT file (3D Topicscape). That database records where the files are that you introduce to that Topicscape.

One 'Scape is a view of part of a Topicscape, centered around a Current Topic.

One Topic Centre is a view inside one Topic cone (or pyramid).

Don't forget that Topicscape also has a 2D Map view.

I just added some children to a topic. Why did nothing change in the 'Scape?

There are a couple of reasons why a topic may not appear when it is added. A Topicscape can be enormous. The 3D approach developed for Topicscape can show a large portion of such a database, much more than any other method we know of.

But it will not always be able to show all of it. Cones that would be too tiny, are just not shown at all until you move the main point of focus (the Current Topic) closer to them. So if you add a child topic to a great-grandchild of the Current Topic, you won't see it until you, for example, make the great-grandchild into the Current Topic. There is another reason why you may not see a new entry: If Topicscape only occupies part of the screen on a normal sized computer monitor or LCD panel, the new topic may just be too small for the monitor to show it. Zooming in will let you see it.

At the other end of the scale, you will only see ancestors of the Current Topic up to the great-grandparent level. If you make a new parent of one of the biggest pyramids behind the Current Topic, a great-grandparent topic, you will not see it.

At the side of a 'Scape you will often see 'sibling' topics. These are topics on the same level as the Current Topic (they share one or more common parents). They are often useful places to look when the Current Topic's children and below do not yield what you are searching for. Their children are also shown (siblings' children), but that's as low as it goes. To see more, try making a sibling Current. In addition there is a customization feature that can limit to ten the number of children showing for any one sibling. To turn this off, please select Tools | Options | 'Scape | and uncheck the "Show at most 10 children of any sibling topics" checkbox. When that option is checked and a specific sibling has more than 10 children, you will see three dots floating in the air to show that there are more children that are not shown.

If you add topics to a sibling as children, and there are 10 or more already, you will not see the additions.

Why do small cones suddenly pop into view as I zoom in?

I noticed that before that happened there was a smudged area on the screen in the same place.

To allow a very large 'Scape to work smoothly on the screen and allow you to fly quickly, we suppress the detailed presentation (rendering) of very small cones in 3D. In their place, we have a small flat image of a cone - this is much quicker to show on the screen and if there are hundreds visible it can make a big difference to the speed. Whenever you get close to a group of these, Topicscape will start to render them in full 3D detail.

Sometimes, one group of cones will be near enough to be rendered fully, while a group behind them will not, so don't be surprised if the small cones look different -- you will always be able to read them as you fly nearer.

For an exciting free guide to all things visual, visit the
Visual Thinking Center