A recently unveiled passion project from Jon Schull is adding untold value to e-nable.org and serves as a visual representation of the rich history and inter-connectedness of the e-NABLE network.
Schull’s project is a collection of maps – the e-NABLE Atlas. It shows all of the people, chapters, projects, and services that make up the e-NABLE network. The Atlas can be found on the e-nable.org homepage. Upon first glance, it may seem a bit daunting – and Schull is constantly tweaking it to make it more user friendly. However, just because it is a project in motion does not mean that it is not a valuable resource in its current state.
The Atlas has several different versions. The Core showcases the foundational institutions that allow e-NABLE to function: Enablio, the Strategic Planning Committee, EnablingTheFuture, and so on. The Atlas shows how each of these elements are connected to one another and clicking on any individual element shows more information about it. Clicking on the background of the Atlas will clear the information and allow you to navigate to other, more in-depth versions of the tool.
There are other maps, including Core-Plus, which shows the foundational institutions as well as the individuals and initiatives most connected to them. The Social Networks map displays e-NABLE’s online presence and who runs each group. The Connections map is the broadest version of the Atlas, and may be the first one where you’ll have to use the tool’s search feature to find exactly what you’re looking for. It shows everything included in the other maps as well as all of e-NABLE’s chapters and anything else missing from the other versions of the Atlas. Simply put, it gives the most complete view of the e-NABLE network possible.
Perhaps the most useful feature of the Atlas is the Focus feature. After selecting any element, clicking the Focus button (the bullseye-shaped icon on the right of the window) isolates only that element. Clicking the Expand Focus button will show that element’s immediate connections. The focus can be expanded until the entire Atlas is in view. This allows anyone to easily visualize all of e-NABLE’s projects that they are involved with, and, Schull hopes, inspires them to become involved with more within the network of e-NABLE.
There are three other maps, radically different from the other iterations. The Devices Family Tree shows the evolution of e-NABLE’s devices; it demonstrates how the original Robohand was the influence for newer, more advanced devices and how those devices in turn inspired others. Pathways and Resources demonstrates how anyone can get more plugged into the e-NABLE community, with five broad categories: Get What You Need, Grow the Movement, Innovate, Make Devices, and Work with Chapters. Finally, the Geographic map plots all of e-NABLE’s chapters and events on a world map, demonstrating that e-NABLE truly is a global movement.
Schull created the Atlas out of a desire to demonstrate the ways in which every member of the e-NABLE network works together in order to form the overall network. He wanted a way to highlight projects and initiatives that have defined e-NABLE’s impact, but he also wanted a way to unearth abandoned or otherwise incomplete projects and ideas, and maybe even complete some of the lost projects.
“In my fantasy world,” Schull said, “everyone is going to start finding hidden needles in the e-NABLE haystack, attaching them to various places in the e-NABLE Atlas, and creating bigger connections on the Atlas where their profile is shown.”
Schull has been tinkering with the Atlas for countless hours, and he’s not done working on it yet. He plans to keep adding elements to each version of the Atlas, and he has ideas for new features as well. He hopes to map badges and people so it will be instantly clear who has what badges. He also wants to make it easy for people and chapters to add connections to the map, and then embed views on their own websites, “any person or chapter can become the center of its own universe.”
Meanwhile, he says, just send information to him.