If you are interested in high-tech and life science across the Triangle, perhaps you’ve heard about the coming “Digital Doorway”  or “Digital Front Door” project.

Well, now you can see it.

Some parts, anyway.

The Council for Entrepreneurial Development is unveiling the first draft of its Triangle-wide interactive, web-based map to board members at its annual meeting today. WRAL Tech Wire received an insider’s view of what the CED and partners are developing early Wednesday, and we have a number of images to share.

Hal Thomas. who recently joined CED as senior manager for programs and outreach and is deeply involved in the map project, walked The Skinny through the project. He talks about “dynamic data” and organizing “big data” about the Triangle’s tech and life science ecosystem into “really good, structured data.”

To say the least, even now the Digital Doorway is impressive with a wealth of company listings, locations, corporate information and details about founders.

With more than 2,000 high-tech and life science companies already identified across Wake, Durham and Orange counties, the map ranges from clusters of companies (in different colors, based on size of the clusters) to single icons for tech and life science firms located in more isolated locations.

Click on a cluster and the map explodes with companies listed by category as well as location.

Click on a single icon and information about that specific firm materializes.

Nothing really exists like this now, and a wide variety of partners are working with the CED because they realize the value the Digital Doorway brings. From corporate recruiting to just connecting companies and executives with each other, the Digital Front Door opens into a depth of information about the region that people only before have really only known in bits and bites as assembled by trade groups or schools or individual firms that are in search of business, partners and even investors.

As impressive as the map is already, Thomas and CED are excited about the project’s potential.

For example, Thomas talked about ultimately being able to link members of the community directly through the map.

Think LinkedIn for the Triangle on steroids.

And the map will become much more granular in the future based on feedback the CED receives.

“The Initial plan is to show where the technology and life science players in the Triangle are,” Joan Siefert Rose, who runs the CED, explained recently. 

It’s likely in the future that other icons will be added for groups such as video game-related firms, or media relations companies or telecommunications.

The list could be almost without limit.

The N.C. Biotechnology Center, the North Carolina Technology Association, and the Research Triangle Foundation are already providing information for the map.

Helping design and put together the structure of the map is Durham-based Relevance.

The CED won’t make the map available online for public access before March. But the group will continue to seek feedback from individuals and organizations about what should data should populate this $100,000-a-year project. If you have a chance to offer your thoughts, be sure to do so.

There will be no final product. The Digital Doorway will evolve as features are added and as companies come and go. But a driving priority will remain data integrity, Thomas said. The information must be accurate and up to date if the project is to be effective.

“We really want to showcase the companies and the people who are here,” Thomas said. “We want people to use this, to connect, to meet each other, to find information about companies from founding to milestones.

“It needs to spark connections.”

Based on what the CED has assembled so far, the sparks will come.