Alan M. MacEachren

Alan M. MacEachren is a professor of Geography, Affiliate Professor of Information Sciences & Technology, and Director of the GeoVISTA Center (www.GeoVISTA.psu.edu) at the Pennsylvania State University. MacEachren’s research foci include: cartography, geovisuali­zation, geovisual analytics, geocollaboration, spatial cognition, visual semiotics, human-centered systems, and user-centered design. He is author of How Maps Work: Representation, Visualization and Design and Some Truth with Maps; and co-editor of additional books (including Exploring Geovisualization) as well as of nine journal special issues. He was chair of the International Cartographic Association (ICA) Commission on Visualization (1999-2005) and is an ICA fellow. MacEachren was a member of the U.S. NRC, Rediscovering Geography Committee, (1993-1997), on the NRC Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Committee on the Intersections Between Geospatial Information and Information Technology (2001-2002) and was a member of the National Visualization and Analytics Center R&D Agenda panel (2004-2005). He was also Associate Editor of IEEE TVCG (2007-2011) and is an Associate Editor of Information Visualization (2001-present).

Title of Talk: Visually Enabled Geographical Reasoning

Teaser: Geographical reasoning is something we do every day, whether it is deciding which route to take on a drive across town, picking a location in the yard to plant some fruit trees, or figuring out that the news headline, “Georgia Seeks Expanded Role as Caspian Energy Corridor,” is about the country rather than the state (or a woman). And, geographical reasoning is essential to many problems in science, from study of environmental change and its implications, through modeling infectious disease, to understanding the complex implications of social media on the nature of cities and neighborhoods. In the era of Big Data, we have an abundance of geo-located (or geo-locatable) data that serve as an input to geographical reasoning together with many new map-based and other visual methods and technologies that purport to help people reason with and make decisions based upon these data. But, making effective use of new visual methods to support geographic reasoning requires both a deeper understanding of what geographical reasoning is and design of visual-computational methods to leverage that understanding. Visual Analytics, a relatively new field that grew out of developments in scientific, information, and geographical visualization, exploratory data analysis, knowledge discovery in databases, and other domains, offers the start of a framework for addressing this challenge. Visual Analytics has been defined as “the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces.” But, even though this definition is a decade old, we are just beginning to come to grips with the concept of “reasoning” and how to enable it visually. In this presentation, I will sketch some developments in geovisualization and visual analytics targeted toward enabling analytical reasoning and outline some challenges and potential approaches to achieving a more comprehensive understanding of geographical reasoning and how to enable it visually.

 

Alan M. MacEachren