Atlases, cartography and transformations considered in regards to future geovisualizations

Francis Harvey
Universität Leipzig

Within cultural analytics, researchers have been able to develop techniques for visualizing and finding patterns in large amounts of data. These concepts and approaches are crucial for our abilities to comprehend and communicate using the data volumes, varieties, and velocities that are becoming more common-place. In my presentation I want to look back at modes of information aggregation and knowledge presentation that developed in cartography over centuries and remain central to many workflows still used today to communicate about complex geographical interactions. I want in particular to consider the role of atlases as a social technology for knowledge discovery and their continued relevance. Visualization approaches in cartography, a foundation for atlases, involve numerous transformations of geographic patterns and processes as the basis for successful symbolic communication. We have many choices, but we are constrained by externalities that often take the form of conventions, enmeshed in culture. By examining past approaches to atlas production and use, we can find concepts and see how current concepts that frame our geospatial visualizations rest on long-established ways of making maps. Making these examinations relevant to cultural analytics requires more than a summary of best-practices, lucid documentation of successes, and extension of past concepts to new technologies. They help greatly, but connecting geospatial visualizations and analytical concepts and techniques of cultural analytics is crucial. How to inform the process of creating geovisualizations through ethical considerations, supports robust user experience frameworks that account for scientific concepts and values.

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