GIS Data Visualization
Geography 387

Meeting: MW 1:30-2:45 in Physical Science Building 310
Instructor: Matthew McGranaghan (PSB 313 956-7092
Office hours: I'm generally around, make an appointment to be sure.

Catalog Description: Display techniques for statistical and terrain data. Cartographic communication models, data models, algorithms, and symbol conventions. Techniques for assessing map design.

Interpretation: GIS, ubiquitous computer graphics, and the web have brought rapid change to "visualization" (nee, cartography). The cartographic conventions that help one communicate with maps can be implemented in web-centric digital representations. We will consider digital and graphic representations of spatial-temporal data and in particular, transformations from data to graphics, usually via XML formatted text. Lab exercises will use ArcGIS, Google Earth, HTML, KML, SVG, python, awk, HTML5/Canvas, JavaScript, and (unix) support tools to explore contemporary cartographic communication via websites on the university's unix web servers. We'll consider and apply cartographic design guidelines to create (better) maps in this web environment.

This term, I'd like to consider the display of multi-dimensional data (including uncertainty), and to explore the possibilities and limitations that technology and human visual processing impose on it.

Readings: This term, two books were supposed to be at the bookstore. Michael Peterson's (2014) Mapping in the Cloud which gets at a lot of the technological background and is there. Cynthia Brewer's (2005) Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users is better on map design, but the bookstore did not get it. A third book appeared this summer, too late to order but very well suited for the technical web aspects... Emmanuel Stefanakis (2015) Web Mapping & Geospatial Web Services would be useful.

We will make considerable use of on-line software documentation and reference materials. You may also find some off-line chapters, articles and books (see this list ) useful for setting cartographic design and production in a larger context.

Institutional and Departmeantal Student Learning Outcomes: The course is intended to support ILOs 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b and 3d. It supports departmental SLOs 3a (spatial data sources), 3b (display techniques), and 3c (map production).

Readings and Materials: Readings (see the schedule)

Grading: Grades will be based on completion and class presentation of approximately weekly mapping exercises (together 70%), a mid-term exam (essay format) (15%) and a term project (15%). Class participation and engagement are required. Each of these components must be completed to pass the course. The university policy on I-grades will hold. Labs will be assessed for demonstrating that you understood and experimented with the software environments and cartographic concepts from lecture and reading materials.