Geovisualization: We’ve come far but there is still work to be done

The challenges posed by MacEachren and Kraak are manifold, but they effectively outline the path that geovisualization has taken since the paper was written in 2000.  The increased use of the World Wide Web, increases in hardware and software technology as well as focuses on relevant theory has solidified geovisualization as an extremely useful and widespread field.  The huge increase in multi-dimensional, dynamic and interactive visual maps has allowed for a broader visualization and analysis of geospatial data.

One aspect that I think still presents a challenge today is the incorporation of group work and the extension of tools to all people that need it.  This brings us back to the notion of the digital divide that exists in our world.  As western based academics, pushing to the frontier of geovisualization is in line with what we already know and understand.  However, in parts of the world where the internet may not be as accessible, some of these newer features may not be as well understood.  As a result, a lot of new tools and programs may need to be adapted to certain people’s cognitive abilities.  Additionally, everyone interprets the space around them in a unique manner, calling for an in depth analysis of how geovisualization could help them specifically.

Despite this, I believe we have made huge leaps in geovisualization since this paper has been written.  Citizens can use many different applications that were only ideas to experts a few years ago.  Still, one of the main issues today is extending the progress that has been made to all corners of the globe.



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