CNN Big Picture Maps Stories

It might have been on c|net’s site for 8 years, but I just randomly discovered their “Big Picture” feature — by attaching associated links form their stories, this flash app can create a visual map, showing connected stories or companies featured on their site:

For every story published, News.com editors and reporters included relevant links to other News.com stories. In addition, News.com highlights the important companies that appear in a story as well as attach appropriate topics to each story.

My stumbling started with their story on Universities register for virtual future, where the sidebar link brought me to the “Big Picture” for this story:


Clicking on a node can draw a new map, with that story as the center, and new links, or you can pop and view the full news story. This leads to some ways to explore content other than link hopping form the articles…


Now this is hardly revolutionary, as such things have been around for web eons, like the Visual Thesaurus, various 3D search result viewers, and going back to the late 1990s work of Roy Stringer and the Navihedra. I’ more curious than certain if these offer people ways to navigate connected content that they would actually use and discover… or is it just neat eye candy?

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I would like to see major news outlets go to this format of displaying news. Very often do I find my self wanting to go deeper into a topic than a newspaper or CNN article can go.

    I see something like this as a sort of visual wikipedia-type thing for news. Being kind of visual and not liking to click links as I read an article, I think the big picture maps are great.

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