Cody Pallo


MetaGraffiti - Spatial Historical Media Network

November 1, 2017
By Cody Pallo

This solution has been partially realized by Google, after this article was published, and was revealed at Google I/O in 2022. I was not part of this team.

MetaGraffiti is a media browser that turns the world into a historical library.


What is the experience of a library and how can MetaGraffiti reproduce that experience?

  • When you visit a library, the process should always be one of discovery whether you go on purpose or haphazardly.
  • Different general sections should exist in that library.
  • Those sections should have books on history specific topics relating to particular things, people, and events.
  • Those books should have pages that have specific information on each historical topic.
  • Those pages should be written by scholars and authors who have researched common documented memories related to the topic.
  • There should be assistance in the library that can help you find the information you are specifically looking for.
  • Media should exist in the libraries to help put emphasis on the specific ideas you are researching.


Here’s how MetaGraffiti works.

MetaGraffiti is one site with one database. Much like Wikipedia, all content is interrelated. Like Yelp it is location specific information on a map. Like Tumblr or Twitter, the site depends on feeds. Feeds have their own set of map pins. Feeds are created by historical professionals, the user chooses to follow a feed or not based on preference.

  • Historical institutions contribute media to a pool of data for a specific place. You must be invited to participate. However, there will be a public media contribution form on the main site that puts the media in a cue for the institution to approve.
  • Users can search by specific time, place, thing, person, or event in an initial search field. (all results return a list of pins on a map) Map pins are specific to historic locations and contain topics and media related to that time and place. Time & place are navigable. All map pins, when clicked, open to a description page with cards.
    • Place & Time (current map location / current timeline location)
      1. Related Thing (Such as a statue or a building)

      2. Related Person (Historical figure such as an artist or a businessman)

      3. Related Event (Such as a protest or concert)

      4. Related Place (Available map location)

      5. Related Time (Available timeline location)

Here’s who can use it.

  • Because it is almost entirely a VR/AR interface, it is geared toward the act of discovering media not reading long passages of text. The site is fully responsive. Geolocation and camera are required for AR otherwise it defaults to a 2D map and Cardboard/HMD VR interface. Desktop/Laptop, Phone, or HMD are needed for VR.

User Interface (Publicly Facing SIte)

1. Search / Map (2D/VR/AR)
a. Place (Geolocated pin)

i. Time (Current time)
1. Description (Starts with current place & time)

  1. Related Topic (Related topics as links in text)

    1. Time

    2. Place

    3. Person

    4. Thing

    5. Event

  2. Media (All media related to current description)

Contributor Form (CMS View)

  1. Level 1 = Media Type (*Can be downloaded by user)

    1. Image*

    2. Movie*

    3. Sound*

    4. eBooks*

    5. 3D object*

    6. Software*

    7. VR/AR Experience

  2. Level 2 = Media Cover Browser (To pick media to view)

  3. Level 3 = Media Preview (Window to view media)

1. Top Category: Place, Person, Thing, Event a. Location (Required)

i. Time (Required)
1. Description (Text with topics as links, Titles are short and accurate)

a. Related Topic (Popup that creates new brief post which is labeled as draft. Only created if post does not exist already)

i. Place, Person, Thing, Event 1. Location

a. Time

b. Media (“*Related Media File” for fields) b. Related Media File* (All entries must have media)

  1. Title

  2. Description

  3. Media File (Categorized by CMS)