Visualizing uncertainty

MacEachren et als article provides a thorough overview of the current status of uncertainty visualization along with its future and its challenges. It seems to be established that uncertainty visualization is more useful at the planning stage than at the user stage of an application. This makes me think back to an earlier discussion on temporal GIS. We talked about how the important aspect of temporal GIS was in its analytical capabilities, rather than in its representational capabilities. While I do not deny the positive effect on analysis that visualization might have, I question if it should be the aspect of uncertainty that is given the most attention.

Two of the challenges proposed by the article are developing tools to interact with depictions of uncertainty and handling multiple kinds of coexisting uncertainty. Might representation in some instances prove more troublesome than its worth? Might representational practices at times be obfuscative of data that might be understood as just data? I want to note that I am asking these questions in earnest, not rhetorically. Which I guess boils down to a question I have probably asked all semsester: how do we evaluate what is important enough or useful enough to invest time in?



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