Robert Horn: Visualizing World’s Biggest Problems

Access, Data, Design, Innovation, Knowledge, Transparency
Robert Horn
Robert Horn

Robert Horn is a political scientist with a special interest in public policy, organizational strategy, and knowledge management. These days, he deals mostly with social messes. Social messes are more than complicated problems. I define them as tightly interconnected clusters of wicked problems and other messes. They are very complex; ambiguous; highly constrained; seen differently from different ideologies and worldviews; and contain many value conflicts. They usually contain major entanglements of economic, social, and political, cultural, and psychological factors.  Bob is a pioneer in dealing with messes through interactive visual analysis with task groups.

Below the Fold Are Links and Some Astonishing Visuals

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Search: Information Mapping (2010 Update)

Augmented Reality, Budgets & Funding, info-graphics/data-visualization, IO Mapping, Maps, Methods & Process, Searches, Tools, True Cost

Below is updated information followed by the original response.

With the permission of Robert Horn, a co-founder of Earth Intelligence Network and also the “owner” of the term “information mapping,” we have posted his seminal work in easy to download and exploit segments:

Reference: Mapping Hypertext (1989)

Latest example of Robert Horn's work:

Reference: Sustainable World by 2050

Below: Two “New Media” Programs, One Pace-Setting Informatics Program, Comment, and original 2009 search response.

Continue reading “Search: Information Mapping (2010 Update)”

Reference: Sustainable World by 2050

About the Idea, Briefings (Core)
Full Briefing Online

Phi Beta Iota: Professor Robert Horn of Stanford is one of the co-founders and continuing intellects unified by Earth Intelligence Network, and a true genius at sustainability design and visualization.  His original term of continuing value is  “information mapping.”  This, his latest briefing, is a most helpful offering in relation to creating global strategies for education, intelligence, and research.  Visit Professor Horn at his HOME PAGE.

See Also:

Bite-Size View of Full Wall Mural (Fast but Still 17MB)

Full Size Wall Mural is offered for sale, laminated, C$945.  Order from RubenNelson at

Book on Mapping Hypertext (1989)

Review: Earth–The Sequel–The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming

5 Star, Environment (Solutions), Future, Survival & Sustainment, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity

Earth SequelDouble Spaced Very Useful Tour of the Energy Horizon, May 2, 2008

Miriam Horn

I like this book and recommend it for students of any age from high school to the geriatric crowd that I represent. It has a super index but no mention of Lester Brown or Herman Daly, but that is offset by back cover recomendations from E. O. Wilson, Mark Lewis, and Michael Bloomberg.

Highlights from my fly leaf notes:

+ 1977 Clean Air was a command and control one size fits all that did not pass the market test

+ Lead author and others with the Environmental Defense Fund were instrumental in getting the 1990 Clear Air Act passed.

+ Making clean air a commodity makes the environment a profit center

+ Although there is no mention of Paul Hawkin's “true cost” meme, Hawkins does get listed in the index twice, see his Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World; the author mentions the urgency of accounting for the cost of pollution.

+ USA must cut its emissions by 80%

+ The author is fully aware that Acts of God are in fact Acts of Man. Another book, I cannot remember which, tells us that changes to the planet that used to take 10,000 years now take three. Not only do we need real time science, but we also need The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal

+ Clean energy is described by one sources as “the mother of all markets.”

+ The author considers the energy markets to be completely “rigged” and notes that grain based ethanol, which I have called idiocy on more than one occasion, exists because of lobbying from Archer Daniels Midland among others.

+ In 2005 solar power grew by 45%.

+ Solar is distributed power, storage is a major obstacle.

+ The author clearly excited by Silicon Valley nano-tech, and also cautious about what we do not know when it is destabilized.

+ The solar energy industry is shooting for the Home Depot marketplace, stuff so simple I could install it. The author also tells us that banks are starting to get into power purchase agreements that will finance clean energy the way a home or car might be mortgaged. Home depot level will also mean graceful degradation and no “crash” or energy equivalent of Bill Gate's “blue screen of death”.

+ Concentrating the sun is another promising approach. The author tells us that solar energy is six times more land efficient than wind energy.

+ Cuba is sitting on a sugar cane gold mine, biofuels with zero emissions are on the way from sugar modification.

+ Algae is covered, as well as bacteria.

+ Ocean power is also making headway, and is consistent, predictable, and has a high energy density.

+ Earth thermal includes hot water that comes with oil, previously considered a nusiance.

+ Coal is getting a make-over, and biomimicry is helping. It must get a make-over because it is an essential part of the mid-term power solution.

+ Sequestration is working and will work long enough to matter.

+ Regenerative reserves (e.g. the Amazon) are an essential part of the future. More more on this see the lovely and informative Climate Change and Biodiversity

+ Manure is turning into a major league energy source (when it's not contaminating our spinach, there is a whole land under surface water use deal here that we just do not understand.

+ Energy efficiency, hybrid cars, and smarter land use (compacting towns and cities to increase efficiency of public transportation) are part of the solution.

+ All parties will spend $10 trillion over the next thirty years to achieve clean energy.

See Other books I recommend:
Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, Third Edition
Ecological Economics: Principles And Applications
The Future of Life
The Mighty Acts of God
The Republican War on Science
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature
Green Chemistry and the Ten Commandments of Sustainability, 2nd ed

This is a fine book. See also the WIRED Magazine Cover Story from 2000, it came out the same month Dick Cheney was meeting secretly with Enron and Exxon executives.

Reference: Mapping Hypertext (1989)

Analysis, Analysis, Augmented Reality, C4/JOE/Software, Collective Intelligence, Geospatial, Historic Contributions, info-graphics/data-visualization, InfoOps (IO), IO Mapping, Journalism/Free-Press/Censorship, Maps, Methods & Process, Monographs, Open Government, Policy, Reform, Research resources, Strategy, Tools
Book Home Page

Title Pages

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9


This is the seminal work in what the author has long named “information mapping.”  Posted as a public service with permission of the author, under Creative Commons license.  No commercial exploitation is permitted without documented consent of the author.

Book intended to be read two pages at a time.  The author suggests printing by the chapter, and then reading with even pages to the left and odd pages to the right, two pages at a time.

Visit the author's HOME PAGE.