Thursday, March 26, 2009

An Idea: Geographic File System (GeoFS)

A file system is a technique your operating system uses to organize the files in the hard disc.

Microsoft started the FAT (File Allocation Table), the idea was simple. A table describes the file and where its parts are located in the hard disc sectors.

Then it invented the NTFS (New Technology file system), WinFS (Windows File System) Making the windows files locate even faster and very appealing.

I want to propose a new file system. The (GeoFS) Geographic File System, this will support GeoUI (Geographical User Interface) idea.

From my experience with files, I care about these parameters:
  • I want to see files I usually work on (Last modified/view date/time) (Spider net)
  • I want to see how large the files are (I don't want to click to see that show me that instantly)
  • I want to remember where I placed my files
You may add to the list. And here is the idea.

In GeoFS I will try to remove the concept of folders. GeoFS supports files only (KISS keep it simple)

Lets see how this goes.
  • We will have a big white Sphere, lets call it the File Space.
  • You can pan and zoom to this sphere as in Google Earth exactly.
  • You can divide your File Space as many areas as you like and label them. Example here is the work area, here is the personal area.
  • You can move any files into any area.
  • Files appear as icons, text files have the text icon, video have the video files and so on.
  • Larger files appear as larger icon. So as I pan and zoom in the File Space sphere I can intuitively see which files are large in size and which files are relatively small.
  • Files that you use frequently or opened, will always show up at the files space surface without your need to zoom in.
  • As you zoom in, the older files will start to appear (with the date and time on the upper right of your File Space). You can reverse this view to show the older files first.
  • You will have one text box up to type a file name. This will show the searched files on the file space sphere as you type.
  • Newer files will have a shiny look, older files will start to get a spider net look. As they get older the spider net get thicker.
  • Finally you can have three modes,
Size Mode: Show me large files first and as you zoom I will get the smaller files (you may reverse this too)

View mode: Show me the files I viewed recently (at least today) and as I zoom I will get the older files.

Edit mode: Show me the files I edited recently (at least today) and as I zoom I will get the older files.

Now guys you may expand on or critic on this idea, I would love to hear you all.


  1. Great concept, have you read Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" that apparently predicted something like this, and Google Earth too according to some? (
    "There is something new: A globe about the size of a grapefruit, a perfectly detailed rendition of Planet Earth, hanging in space at arm's length in front of his eyes. Hiro has heard about this but never seen it. It is a piece of CIC software called, simply, Earth. It is the user interface that CIC uses to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns--all the maps, weather data, architectural plans, and satellite surveillance stuff."

  2. @Andrew
    No I didn't read that, I really should!

    Really nice quote, if this book predicted some of this, we should get more details to help enhance it and make the dream come true..

  3. @Andrew
    "A globe about the size of a grapefruit, a perfectly detailed rendition of Planet Earth, hanging in space at arm's length in front of his eyes"

    Thats the concept,
    you can visualize everything in front of your eyes with this ..

    Thanks for the contribution.

  4. I like the idea very much. I'm assuming that it will all the features are optional. That way, the GeoFs will be more custom made to each en everyone.

    I also really liked your "modes". Quite nice!

    It won't be messy either, because you'll just have a certain amount (which should be optional I think) that will be visible.

    Are you thinking about doing the sphere transparent? It may be difficult, but it would turn out real nice if you do!

    Also, what happens when you click on an icon? Will the file open? Or would you see a preview (like in Quick Look, Mac OS X Leopard) or a textbook where certain information of the file shows up? Booth?

    I guess a preview, like Quick Look, would be great!

    Anyways, I love your idea Hussein! It's just so open, and simple!

  5. @Andres
    I loved the transparent sphere, everything can be done!!! it could be an option..

    This way the user can see everything

    As for the preview you will have the preview option so as you pan and zoom you can see the images , text without the need to open them.. but files like executable and binaries you have to open them...


    These additions are nice.. The blog is a great way to store the ideas in a safe place where everybody can read and share!

    Simple.. your goal right ;)
    Thanks andres

  6. The nice thing about this visual file system, which you call GeoFS, is that whatever technology you use to implement it can also be used, with some modifications, in databases—you can call it GeoDB. After all, a file system is just a database of file properties such as inodes, size, address, etc.

    When you do that you will have a visual data warehouse. Quite handy, if you ask me.

    And since file systems and databases are very prevalent in computer systems, (everything from the lowliest netbook to mainfraimes, servers and clusters have some sort of filesystem or database) this technology could really revolutionize computing.

    Great idea, Hussein. Keep it coming.

  7. @Cody
    You have just extended our limits

    If this idea is fired, we could make it open source or so generic that it could be applied to databases or perhaps design the GDBMS Geographic Database Management System

    Thanks guys for this momentum!


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