Excerpt from The Atlantic article by Steven Heller:
"This year Van Dam has taken maps into the fourth dimension his 4DmApp, which does more than get people from here to there. "In a world of ubiquitous gaming play, value is king," Van Dam explains. "The playfulness of maps stems from being miniatures. As miniatures, maps show us realities we couldn't otherwise see. They put us in charge and present the world from God's perspective." The 4DmApp takes this one step further and empowers the user to choose a personal perspective. "You can hover above the top of 1 World Trade Center, tilt the phone (which engages the accelerometer) to shift the ground under your virtual feet, then fly through cartographic space to land at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage with lightening speed—and you feel it in your tummy. It's entertainment, discovery and play in the service of getting from here to there."
Van Dam is also including "geo-social layers" to allow "transactions that can be recorded and shared live on the map." The goal is to create "sticky points of engagement" within this miniature landscape to deliver what he calls "live, measurable interactions by the user in both the virtual and physical worlds."
The 4DmApp is graphically distinct in the way basic the map indicators—streets, avenues, etc.—are integrated into the landscape. Van Dam has accomplished this by merging map and scale-model metaphors to make urban space legible for all audiences. "The 3D buildings are the beacons in this miniature information landscape made up of type, symbols, pictograms, and other graphic abstractions," he explains. "But it's the combination of lighting and shadows cast, camera angles, and movement through space that improves on physical reality to create a magical and typographical miniature world you can actually enter."