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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jin-Kyu Jung
BIS 343
Bothell Campus

Geographic Visualization

Focuses on different geovisualization techniques to represent physical, social, and cultural phenomena associated with spatial data and designing maps. Addresses GIS programs and explores how geovisualization can be applied to various research and policy areas.

Class description

BIS343 GEOGRAPHIC VISUALIZATION - Geographic visualization can be defined as the use of concrete visual representations to make spatial contexts and phenomena visible, so as to engage the most powerful human information-processing abilities, those associated with vision. It provides an opportunity that the user of image can explore data to reveal ‘unknown,’ which opens up possibility to research the visualized image, therefore, it is conceptualized as involving a greater degree of analytical power for ‘visual analytical thinking.’ The most obvious example of geovisualization can be a map, particularly various types of thematic maps produced with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Over the course, we will focus on ‘how’ to use different geovisualization techniques appropriately to represent physical, social, and cultural phenomena associated with the spatial data, and ‘how’ to design maps for the effective communicative and analytical platform. By learning a popular GIS program (ESRI’s ArcGIS 10), students will have an opportunity to experience and envision how geovisualization can be applied to their own research. Class activities will help to hone students’ ability to be a critical producer and consumer of maps. We will discuss how maps reflect mapmakers’ particular perspective, purpose, audience, and, often leave out other stories, and practice to critically analyze and interpret them. We will also broaden the discussion of geovisualization to the context of Geographic Information Science (GISci), critical visual methodology, geovisualization with popular geoweb, and qualitative geovisaulzation.

Student learning goals

Students will learn principles of geographic visualization, and understand how various types of data can be integrated and represented with spatial data.

Students will expand their knowledge of GIS by applying multiple thematic mapping techniques as well as experimenting new practices of geovisaulization beyond a desktop GIS (e.g. Choropleth mapping, 3D geovisualization with Google Earth, Web-based dynamic mapping).

Students will have an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with Arc GIS software, and apply it to create a coherent and powerful geovisualization.

Students will find and apply an innovative geovisualization techniques for their own research.

General method of instruction

Class will be composed of lectures, class participation, the discussions of assigned readings, geovisualization GIS lab exercises, and the final group project.

Recommended preparation

Students are expected to have some basic knowledge of mapping and spatial data in general. Students should be prepared to read all the assigned readings before coming to class, and they are expected to actively participate in class discussions and activities. Also, computer-based GIS lab exercises will be important part in this course. Taking BIS218 The Power of Maps and/or BIS 342 Geographic Information Systems are 'strongly' recommended even though they are not prerequisite for this class.

Class assignments and grading

Grades will be based on two exams (20% each), Geovisualization lab exercises (25%), final group project (20%), short essay (5%), and students’ participation in class discussions/activities (10%).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jin-Kyu Jung
Date: 02/06/2013