Cognitive and Usability Issues in Geovisualization, Slocum et al. (2001)

Solcum et al. (2001) detailed emergent research themes in geovisualization circa 2001. The authors advocate for an interdisciplinary approach incorporating cognitive and usability engineering principles to address challenges concerning immersion and collaborative visualization. It was striking to realize how frequently I’ve brushed over the finer points made by the authors over the year and change I’ve spent submitting GIS assignments.I feel that so many without technical GIS training are inclined to conceptualize the discipline as “mapmaking.” In contrast it’s interesting how little time is spent on more nuanced cartographic considerations in introductory courses. The article made for a good introduction for engaging more meaningfully with what’s quite literally right under my nose.

Even though the article was presumably written before the release of Google Earth (B.G.E.?) it would appear that most of their discussion concerning emergent research themes is relatively robust–even if perhaps some of their associated challenges have since been addressed. For instance, I am not sure of what more could be said about maintaining orientation in explicitly geographic visual environments, but I would interested to learn more about how one would handle orientation in alternative spatial environments. Particularly such that would be immersive enough that would enable the type of cognition that we use in handling the real world. Moreover, I wonder how the ubiquity of Google Earth alone has propelled the topic of cognition and usability in geovisualization.

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