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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

3D Tank Display  
  A transparent cube showing a three-dimensional display.  

Every space-ship within range of her powerful detectors was represented by two brilliant, slowly moving points of light; one upon a great micrometer screen, the other in the "tank"--the immense, three-dimensional, minutely cubed model of the entire Solar System.
From Triplanetary, by E.E. 'Doc' Smith.
Published by Not known in 1934
Additional resources -

In a letter to Astounding magazine, editor John W. Campbell stated the acknowledgement of Captain Cal Lanning that Doc Smith's ideas were used extensively in the design of US Navy warship's Combat Information Centers.

"The entire set-up was taken specifically, directly, and consciously from the Directrix. In your story, you reached the situation the Navy was in—more communication channels than integration techniques to handle it. You proposed such an integrating technique and proved how advantageous it could be. You, sir, were 100% right. As the Japanese Navy—not the hypothetical Boskonian fleet—learned at an appalling cost."

Probably the source for Heinlein's stereo tank in his 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land.

See also automatic navigator in A Matter of Size (1934) by Harry Bates, the chart cabinet in One Against the Legion (1939) by Jack Williamson, the pilot-robot in Collision Orbit (1941) also by Williamson, the article on astrogation in Methuselah's Children (1941) by Robert Heinlein and the telechart in Crashing Suns (1928) by Edmond Hamilton.

Thanks to Mark Charters for pointing this one out.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Triplanetary
  More Ideas and Technology by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
  Tech news articles related to Triplanetary
  Tech news articles related to works by E.E. 'Doc' Smith

3D Tank Display-related news articles:
  - Our Galaxy's Habitable Zone
  - Augmented Reality Ship's Bridge From Rolls Royce

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