The world of information is massive, complex, dynamic and multi-dimensional. The synthesis of information visually – coherently and accurately in the form of static or interactive graphs and charts, maps, photos, videos, and text – is challenging, yet vital to comprehending the world we live in. During this course, students will be exposed to both the theory behind effective cartographic and infographic design, and the process, software and programming tools that will enable the production of geospatial data visualization products.

The course is offered in a weekly 3 hour block; the 3 hours being divided up into lectures, tutorials, student presentations, discussions and class activities. I try not to lecture for 3 hours!

Students completing this course will:

  • understand how visual information is processed: from the eye and the brian, under the influence of perception and cognition, and how this processing knowledge will enable you to design effective maps and infographics
  • be able to approach and plan any geospatial data visualization project using the 7 steps of the data visualization pipeline (Ben Fry): acquire, parse, filter, mine (GIS analysis) represent (map) refine, interact (web mapping).
  • learn basic open source interactive web mapping tools in addition to brushing up on existing tools you have acquired (ArcGIS and Abobe Illustrator)
  • be able to critically assess products that result from mapping projects
  • learn how to work in teams through the geospatial data visualization process
  • have the opportunity to work with a community for the final project (optional)
  • develop an portfolio which serves as a repository for structured reflection on their learning and images produced in class assignments and projects, and can be re-purposed for a job search or graduate school application (optional)

This course is one of many other GIScience courses in Geography. Other courses include Geographic Information Science (GEOB 270/370/479); Cartography (GEOB 372/472), Remote Sensing (GEOB 373), Statistics (GEOG374).

Many jobs in geography, such as urban planning and environmental consulting require knowledge of GIScience and the ability to visualize geospatial information.