Animated maps of aggregate data: Conceptual and practical problems

Alan Maceachren, David Dibiase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Predictions of the 1960s about the computer’s potential to change cartography are finally being fulfilled. Dynamic maps for vehicle navigation, interactive cartographic/statistical tools, and map animation are being investigated actively. As these new environments for mapping become available, we must reevaluate past questions about transformations from reality to data and data to map. In this paper, we consider these transformation questions in the context of statistical map animation. The issues discussed were raised in producing a "map movie” depicting the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) over time. Jenks’ data model concept is used as the basis for a typology of data models representing phenomena typically depicted by enumeration unit data. The typology is then used to evaluate symbolization decisions for AIDS incidence maps. Implications for symbol selection imposed by dynamic rather than static maps are considered, as are technical issues involved in producing the animation on a microcomputer platform. A hybrid symbolization method that we have termed the "chorodot" is suggested as a way to meet the constraints on symbolization imposed by animation and to represent the appropriate data model for AIDS incidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-229
Number of pages9
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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