In 1931 Harry Beck a temporary draughman with the London Underground created a topological map of the London Underground tube system. To this day Beck original design can be seen all over London and the map itself, along with becoming a cultural icon, is considered to be one of the best maps ever drawn. Despite the fact that the map itself is widely inaccurate, Beck genius was to understand that the only information that a London Underground traveler cared about was the topographical information of the network and he sacrificed all other detail for this simplicity.
In previous posts I have talked about the importance of mapping context to content to help enable asset consumability. We can think of context in terms of scope and it can scope can be thought of in terms of mathematical sets and by expressing context relevant information in terms of scope we can subset our content down to reflects our context. So for example I am a visitor to London, in this context I am a traveler and tourist in central London and I want to use the London Underground to get around. This scoped the London Underground map down the the map below.
Now I find myself in Victoria and I want to go shopping on Oxford street. The only London Underground Line that I am interested in is the Victoria Line and the map is scoped down to just show me that. This map (or content) is maps to the context of a traveler in central London, who wants to used the London Underground to get from Victoria station to Oxford Circus station.
Similarly if I found myself again in Victoria and wanted to go to Tottenham Court Road then the the Underground tube map would scope down to just showing me the Victoria Line and the Circle Line and showing me where their intersect so that I could change tubes at the appropriate station (in this case Oxford Circus).
Finally, if we had access to H. G. Wells time machine I could be a traveler in time as well as space. As we can see from Beck original map the London Underground had changed considerably, new stations and lines have been added over time. Now by temporally scoping our London Underground map to take this into account, I could accompany Mr. Wells and travel back to 1930 and my topic map will be undated accordingly.