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General Departmental Seminar Series

The Role of Geographic Visualization in Scientific Research

Mark Harrower, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Geography

Friday, October 24, 2003, 12-1 p.m.

K6/124 Clinical Science Center, 600 Highland Ave.


The digital revolution has changed how we make maps, how we use them, and how we think about them. Dynamic geospatial systems are increasingly integrated throughout the research process and allow experts to think through complex problems visually. One of the guiding principles of geovisualization is that users must be allowed to freely explore complex geographic data both to confirm existing hypotheses and to formulate new ones. In the last ten years there has been an explosion of available geospatial data. What remains is the challenge of turning these data into useable information. Geovisualization seeks facilitate this transformation. The use of geovisualization spans a conceptual space from private, exploratory knowledge construction through interactive public presentations. The field of geovisualization has emerged as traditional disciplinary boundaries blur, drawing on work in GIS, cartography, remote sensing, computer science, semiotics, cognitive science, and software engineering. Examples of prototype geographic visualization systems will be demonstrated, including approaches to representing uncertainty and error in geospatial data, dynamically linked statistical and cartographic systems, and tools for exploring the impact of temporal and spatial scale.

Relevant URLs:
GIS at UW-Madison www.sco.wisc.edu/siac/
GeoVISTA Center www.geovista.psu.edu
ICA Commission on Visualization www.geovista.psu.edu/sites/icavis/
GeoVISTA Studio (software) www.geovistastudio.psu.edu

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