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Mapping & Data Visualization

This guide provides information about tools, methods, and resources available to incorporate a visual component into your research data.

Examples

The research process often produces a great variety of data - some quantitative, some qualitative, and often a mixture of both. Data visualization -- also named as information visualization or information design -- refers to the methodologies, tools, and modes of representation (i.e., products) involved in the process of visually communicating data to others. Data can be visually communicated in many ways, ranging from a simple table of numbers to complex and highly sophisticated charts and interactive graphics. In GIS and Remote Sensing, the data visualization is frequently presented in maps and web applications. 

In this session you can learn more about tools, methods, resources that are available to incorporate the visual component into your gis/rs research data.

The growing and varied public using cartography science started a process of concern for the treatment of information to ensure the correct interpretation of the information observing the inherent properties of visual perception.

According to Maceachren and Kraak (1997) the process called cartographic visualization -- the concern with data presentation -- has essential for the correct transmission of knowledge.


"Some study groups on this theme supported their proposals in the search for a monosemic graphic representation, which means that the definition of each sign precedes its transcription or interpretation. In between the most widespread works are the so-called methodology of the "Semiology of graphics", developed under the coordination of Prof. Jacques Bertin (1967). "MOURA et al., 2006, p.3).

The semiology of graphics works with the concept of map to seen and not to be read. In this way, the perception happens immediately, starting from the work with semantic rules according to the relation of conception of the universal language of codes.

Learn more about the best way to represent the map according to the type of map and data in this session.

Within the context of mapping and communication models, the maps arise as important means of communication to provide the user information about spatial phenomena duties of support for decision making and spatial analysis. The role of communication beyond the maps are used as tools for visual analysis, the process called cartographic visualization (International Cartographic Association, 2001). From simplified, means use of visualization methods for graphical analysis and presentation of data (DiBiasi et al, 1992).

One of the most common way to deliver and present your final GIS/RS product is using a map.

Among the concepts studied by semiology reference to graphic composition - thematic session-, the concept that the whole is more than the sum of the parts. This means that two elements together are more than the of their characteristics, but the creation of a third element with personal characteristics. Thus, special attention should be paid to the composition of a map to not create undesirable elements, generating false reading and interpretation of the data.

The objectives of the map, the target audience, the scale to be used and the format needs to be defined beforechoosing graphic elements and the graphic of representation. Caring for the map references is essential, such as data source, orientation, date, coordinate system.  It is also important to choose a representative title, toponymy and elements of the legend. These items should not be placed second plan, especially if the work involves a heterogeneous public in terms of knowledge, as is observed today.

 

In this session you can learn how to create a layout map using ArcGIS.

With the exponential growth of people who are connected to the worldwide network of  computers, the World Wide Web has become a very important vehicle for dissemination  of information for everyone. Their activities began with the dissipation of documents  containing text and some images of low quality, such as GIF and JPEG. The protocol  HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and HyperText Markup Language (HTML) on the  operation and were allowed, and transmit content online, increasing interactivity, and although limited to the current standards of conventional graphics applications. The most basic form of dissemination in the context of geospatial data, are WebMaps and Web Applications.

According to Ramos (2005), from the concept of hypertext, the hipermaps emerged, defined as interactive digital maps, which allow the user to access a series of georeferenced information through links. It is an index map, which allows queries to different scales and different sets of information. The constant evolution of technology has enabled the creation of digital libraries for publishing data. The digital libraries of geographic information are centers that provide spatial data infrastructure for the creation, structuring, storage, processing, retrieval and distribution of spatial data (Chambers et al., 1996). You could say that Webgis and the portals are part of such service.

Technological advances resulted in a new map in which the products are organized more quickly and interaction is almost in real time. Starts up the period of multimedia cartography. The design of interactive multimedia and hypermedia was introduced to refer to the media combined with the structure of interactive links. The emphasis changes from "static" to "dynamic". With this, the media has become the interface of communication between sender and recipient of information, interaction and the key to the formation of knowledge. "Systems are becoming interactive ways to communicate the endless spatial information" (Rijken, 1996, p.37).

There are many different applications that you can customize to create your own web-application. You can also create your own web application, which requires more development capabilities.

Dynamic mapping is a research line benefited by crowdsourcing and has been widespread in the last years by mapping elements that are well defined in terms of time and space. One of the basic principles of dynamic mapping is to reveal mobility and concentration of groups of people around certain places or events.

With the growth of technology and introduction of palm-top computer systems, it is now possible to capture, manipulate, analyse and visualise data in the field. Mobile GIS enables the distribution of processing capabilities and real-time support for data gathering in the field with the collaboration of a large number of people. 

 

A lot of researches have been studying different ways to represent the geographic data in order to make it more comprehensive to the end-user. The idea is to bring non-gis specialist to the discussion of the spatial phenomena. For this, it is essential to also research about concepts of data visualization and cartographic communication. Some of this studies showed the benefits of changing the data visualization from zenith to azimuth.

 

These studies defend that the perception of reality and space is much more effective with perspective view in relation to the top view.


Three main systems with these values ​​have been widely used cartographic visualization, specially when applied in Urban planning, landscape analysis: three-dimensional models and WebScenes, which are 3D models available on the web.

The comprehension of cartographic data as well as the interaction of the user in these systems is what allows an easier perception of the space. This encouragement for non-specialist audiences to use this systems allows the collection and actuation of diverse actors involved in a decision making related to the geographic space.

According to Sandercock (2000) there are three types of techniques that can be used by geodata visualization that allow the integration of multiple users of different profiles: animation, multimedia and virtual reality.

With animation multiple characteristics of the information can be displayed by movements creating a presentation showing different aspects of the spatial phenomena.

Multimedia techniques allow text, graphics, animation, sound and video to be used
in a complementary way, to present the different aspects of the information.

With virtual reality the spatial characteristics of the information can be represented three-dimensionally giving a better comprehension of the space changing the sight of view from top to perspective.

 

"The strength of the fourth dimension in the procedures of representation, proposition, simulation and spatial intervention in reality were already expected. The look in azimuth representations was already a strong trend, compared to the zenith look (cartographic representation). Bring the user to the understanding of dynamic and interactive maps already announced as a trend. Studies on mind maps in order to shape the representations and to know how to structure the relationship between the visible reality and virtual reality (represented reality) had returned to the interests (they began the 60s and 70s), and the principles of augmented reality were very well accepted (MOURA, 2012, p. 57)."