Research Challenges in geovisualization – MacEachren & Kraak

This paper was published at the cusp of the digital age, and the author acknowledges the deluge of information that will soon pose a variety of challenges to GI analysts, which are elaborated further throughout the article. Typical issues to be expected such as how to represent information adequately becomes a pertinent question. But also questions of the ease-of-use and usability becomes a prime concern for the authors. I was happy to perceive the level of interest the authors had in the users of their information, harboring a concern for its accessibility. The authors showed a particular tact for acknowledging the different ways in which different individuals or groups may respond to geovisualized data, and how they may interpret the accessibility to this information.
I also found it quite interesting that throughout the article, the authors stressed the multi-disciplinary approach of their science. All the research challenges that were mentioned had elements of cross disciplinary tact which cut between human concerns and the development of GI technology. While it is not specifically mentioned, this article reminds me of the debate as to whether GIS is a tool or a science. This article demonstrates the concern for both data handling and the outcomes of it, with a real sense of simultaneous ethics and progress giving it the allure of a scientific discipline.
While reading this article, I wondered if the concern for the human element of GIS wasn’t caused by the close proximity GIS has with geography in academia. As faculty members in geography intermingle with the social, the physical and the applied dimensions of geography through the mere proximity of each other’s offices in a physical plane, there seems to be fertile grounds for a lot of academic cross-pollination.

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