Heterogeneity in Geovisualization Research

In the Paper of Sarah Elwood 2008, one of the most important features of current Geovisualization research is concluded as “heterogeneity”. First, the sources from which geographic information are collected for visualization is heterogeneous. Nowadays, users can publish their geospatial information through GeoWeb applications, mobile technologies, and social network media. Moreover, remote sensing technologies continuously provide earth observation data with fine spatiotemporal and spectral resolution. And different geospatial databases open another portal for geographic information science research.

Secondly, the geospatial information with Geovisualization becomes heterogeneous. Currently, Geovisualization is no longer limited within professional community, but users can customize it with well-designed Geovisualization tools. Due to different user interests, the geospatial information that they choose to visualize are heterogeneous. For example, GoogleMap can display the information about Chinese restaurants in Montreal, but users still need to access restaurant discussion board to determine which one they will go for diner. All those geospatial information is displayed to users via different Geovisualization tools.

Thirdly, the usages of the heterogeneous Geovisualization tools are heterogeneous. Some GeoWeb are developed for government management, so the geospatial information is carefully analyzed for decision-making support. For emergence system, we require the geospatial data are collected and updated in real-time and geographic location information should be provided with high accuracy. Although these two systems might be developed based on GoogleMap, their architecture are quite different due to their heterogeneous usage.

Finally, the users of Geovisualization system are also heterogeneous. They can be travel agency, business analyst, research scientists and so on. The heterogeneity of Geovisualization has greatly increased the complexity of GIS research, which require corresponding heterogeneous research methodologies.



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