An evolving cognitive-semiotic approach to geographic visualization and knowledge construction

Alan M. MacEachren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


In this short essay, I consider some relationships between the integrated cognitive-semiotic approach to cartographic representation that I develop in HowMapsWork and Jacques Bertin's efforts to construct both a comprehensive semiologic framework for map and graphic design and a structured approach to graphic information processing. In relation to the former, particular attention is given to critiques ofB ertin's 'graphic variables' and work that extends them into the domains oft ime, sound, and touch. Then, the commonalities between his concept ofgeog raphic information processing and recent developments in geographic visualization (geo-visualization) are outlined. Following from the latter, three geo-visualization research challenges for the coming decade are highlighted. The challenges are driven by changes in both technology and society. These include: dramatically increasing volumes of geographic information, growing awareness of the role of this information in addressing problems that are important for science and society, and advances in visual representation and telecommunications technology that extend the ways in which available geographic information can be used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-36
Number of pages11
JournalInformation Design Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Library and Information Sciences


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