• Discover New Mexico

    New Mexicans learn about vital conservation services

Explore the natural resources of New Mexico with a new approach to multiuser interaction

A Natural Treasure

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) worked with Ideum to create an engaging multitouch, multiuser exhibit that helps to educate the public about their services when presented at conferences and events.

Information provided in the application is vast. There is unique information for each New Mexico county, watershed, and USDA service center. Residents can find information that is relevant to them, based one where they live in the state.

A new docking drawer and panel approach for the user interface was found to be a highly effective solution with familiar patterns found in mobile user interfaces. Users no longer have to worry about positioning objects on screen to access information, instead they can customize the display by expanding windows for more information or collapsing windows to maximize map viewing.

The events that the NRCS division attends are typically packed with visitors. One of the requirements of this system is to allow multiple users to easily access information on this display. A split screen feature was designed to facilitate up to four viewing areas. Users pull on an arrow in the map overview section to create two parallel areas of interaction; in this same view, the UI may be stitched back together. When exploring resources within a geographic location, the information shifts into a more compressed format while still retaining the same photo and copy size.

In order to keep track of what people are most interested in, the software was created with a statistical and email inquiry system. When certain menu and map items are pressed, information is sent to a database for statistical analysis later. If users are interested in a particular piece of information, the item may be added to favorites and emailed or printed for personalized reference later.

This interactive application was created for two custom 55” multitouch Ideum Pro tables using Open Exhibits (formerly GestureWorks Flash). The statistical email system was built using Ruby and Sinatra with a Couch DB database.

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