Even with Street View, it can be hard to orient yourself in a strange area with a smartphone-based map. The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), an absolutely genius group of UI designers, wants to jazz things up by letting users shift dynamically from a flat object, like a map or a list of contacts, to a 3D one, which can be overlaid with additional information.

Horizon 2D-3D Maps

By allowing the user to seamlessly transition from a two-dimensional display to a three-dimensional one and back, TAT aims to make it easier to comfortably maintain a sense of space and orientation. At the heart of it all lies TAT Cascades, a UI framework for the production of advanced user interfaces.

TAT Cascades is a UI framework for the production of advanced user interfaces. TAT Cascades makes it possible to quickly and easily create and customize unique user interfaces with unmatched graphical capabilities, giving consumers a richer and more dynamic experience.

For a demonstration, TAT offers this video:

This TAT concept seamlessly combines maps in 2D and 3D. While 2D maps are great for getting a simple overview of a place, 3D maps show you what a place actually looks like. TAT Cascades makes it possible to create maps that combine both approaches, shifting dynamically between 2D and 3D. The 3D map meshes are licensed from C3 Technologies.

Horizon 2D-3D Contact List

Maps aren’t the only bit of the UI that TAT thinks can be improved with a little 3D. With Horizon List, a user could peruse a standard contact list in 2D or tilt the screen for a 3D overview that presents additional information, such as those contacts' latest social media updates:

The 2D-3D Horizon features are part of a proof of concept for TAT, as well as a demonstration of the sorts of UI innovations its Cascades UI framework can develop.

Consider us well impressed and anxiously awaiting this technology on a real-life Android device. How about you?

You can discuss this topic over at DroidForums.