Our successor since ICC 2015: ICA Commission on Visual Analytics http://viz.icaci.org/

ICA Commission on Geovisualization

Commission on GeoVisualization of the International Cartographic Association (ICA) continues the work of the Commission on Visualization and Virtual Environments, which has been key in establishing the emergent discipline of ‘Geovisualization’ since 1995.

The main focus for the period 2011-2015 will be the use of interactive maps and cartographic techniques to support visual analysis of complex, voluminous and heterogeneous information involving measurements made in space and time.

In 1995 interactive maps were predominantly used by scientists involved in analysis and hypothesis generation in the private realm. Now interactive maps are being widely used for research and education through a range of accessible media and technologies in a variety of disciplines and applications scenarios on desktops across the globe.

In this context there is a clear need for the cartographic community to contribute to and learn from the development and use of interactive maps and cartographic techniques that are designed specifically for visual analysis. These interactive maps are being used as flexible spatial interfaces and are being applied to data sets that were either unavailable in 1995 or that could not be visualized through existing technologies and techniques. They are being applied to data sets that are massive, collected in real time by advanced sensors, and not necessarily spatial. They are used increasingly in the process of GIScience for knowledge building and theory generation, decision support, disaster management, information communication, education and learning.

What is GeoVisualization

Among the data the modern society has to deal with, a great part involves a geographical (or, more generally, spatial) component. Visualization of such data (further referred to as ‘spatial data’) traditionally belongs to the research area known as geographic visualization, or geovisualization. Very often, spatial data also have a temporal component. Hence, spatial data have a complex structure involving space, time, and a number of thematic attributes, which poses significant challenges to the visualization. The visualization of spatial data requires the use of maps or 3D displays where at least two display dimensions are utilised to represent the physical space, which is different from information visualization dealing with abstract data spaces. This restricts the possibilities for the representation of the temporal and thematic components of the data. In modern geovisualization software, such data are represented using both traditional cartographic techniques based on the use of colours, textures, symbols, and diagrams; and using computer-enabled techniques such as map animation and interactive 3D views. Moreover, maps are used in combination with nongeographic visualization techniques such as scatterplots or parallel coordinates. The use of multiple interactively linked views providing different perspectives into the data has become a kind of standard in geovisualization. However, a number of problems have yet to be solved, such as the scalability of geovisualization tools and their usability.

Terms of Reference: 2011-2015

The Commission on Geovisualization will …

  1. promote, develop and report upon the use of cartography in its widest sense in the exploration and analysis of spatial information through interactive visual interfaces;
  2. define short and medium term research goals that address key issues associated with this work and its application;
  3. encourage a multi-disciplinary and international approach to this work that draws upon and contributes to the efforts of relevant stakeholders (such as international and national organisations promoting and coordinating research), cognate disciplines and commissions and working groups.

Outline of Activities

This will be achieved through …

  • expert workshops for defining key issues, promising research directions, and opportune goals and, on this basis, planning further activities of the Commission;
  • annual meetings focusing on particular discipline / theme /objective hosted in different countries in conjunction with international research conferences;
  • committed co-chairs and key committee members - each to coordinate one such meeting;
  • developing and publishing research presented at these meetings through peer-reviewed papers where appropriate;
  • a web-log of activities, research undertaken and related research / activity.

Research Agenda Activities

2007. Geovisual Analytics for Spatial Decision Support. Setting the Research Agenda
DOI 10.1080/13658810701349011
2008. Geovisualization of Dynamics, Movement and Change: Key Issues and Developing Approaches in Visualization Research
DOI 10.1057/ivs.2008.23
2010. Space, Time, and Visual Analytics
DOI 10.1080/13658816.2010.508043
2011. Challenging Problems of Geospatial Visual Analytics
DOI 10.1016/j.jvlc.2011.04.001


Recent meetings:

Commission chairs

Dr. Gennady Andrienko (http://geoanalytics.net)
Fraunhofer Institute Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems
Gennady Andrienko received his Master degrees in Computer Science from Kiev State University in 1986, and Ph.D. equivalent in Computer Science from Moscow State University in 1992. He undertook research on knowledge-based systems at the Mathematics Institute of Moldavian Academy of Sciences (Kishinev, Moldova), then at the Institute on Mathematical Problems of Biology of Russian Academy of Science (Pushchino Research Center, Russia). Since 1997 Dr. Andrienko has a research position at GMD, now Fraunhofer Institute for intelligent Analysis- and Information Systems (IAIS).
He is a co-author of the monograph "Exploratory Analysis of Spatial and Temporal Data" (published in December 2005 in Springer), 30+ peer-reviewed journal papers, 10+ book chapters, and 100+ papers in conference proceedings. He has been involved in numerous international research projects. His research interests include geovisualization, information visualization with a focus on spatial and temporal data, visual analytics, interactive knowledge discovery and data mining, spatial decision support and optimization.
Dr. Jason Dykes (http://www.soi.city.ac.uk/~jad7/)
giCentre, Department of Information Science, City University, London
Having developed a number of graphical devices and software tools that support geovisualization Jason Dykes has interests in geovisualization for knowledge discovery and education. A member of the ICA Commission on Visualization and Virtual Environments he is co-editor of 'Exploring GeoVisualization' (Dykes, MacEachren, Kraak, 2005) and has current research interests in using human centred techniques in geovisualization, using developing technologies and standards for geovisualization and using visualization to support geographic enquiry.

Members of the commission (the list is to be extended; please send your entries to G.Andrienko):


Contact: gennady dot andrienko at iais dot fraunhofer dot de, http://geoanalytics.net/and

Mailing list of the commission: https://lists.iais.fraunhofer.de/sympa/info/geovis
Attention: homepage of the mailing list does not work with IExplorer 7, please use other browsers (e.g. Mozilla Firefox or Opera)

Last updated: February 4, 2016 Visitors: (since November 9, 2007)