And thinking about how to make a modern version gets me thinking about room-scale group use computers, and what kind of interfaces we’ll need.
It’s 1954 (or 1955) and a group of disciplines are working together on a complicated decade-long regional development plan for the Hacienda Vicos community in Peru. Represented: anthropology, economics, political science, and psychology.
whose walls contained a large matrix with the time (in years) on the ordinate and with the “variables” the group was interested in along the abscissa.
Here’s the paper: Administration of Research in a Research Corporation by Kennedy & Putt, RAND Corporation Report No. P-847, April 20, 1956.
130 variables, grouped under “government,” “economics,” “social relations,” “education and mass media,” “health and welfare,” and “attitudes.” There were spaces for three-by-five cards for each of ten years under each variable. The entire matrix thus could hold 1,300 cards that summarized the value of the variable in the past or described its desired value for the future. At the top of each column was a description of the value of the variable “in the best of all possible worlds” and a statement of the value anticipated or desired at the end of the ten-year experimental period (1951-1961).
The map room contained a conference table and chairs so that decision-making and planning conferences could be held there. Thus the group was continually confronted with the developing map and the members were constantly aware of gaps in the information and suggested priorities for items to be considered.