Visualizing geospatial information uncertainty: What we know and what we need to know

Alan M. MacEachren, Anthony Robinson, Susan Hopper, Steven Gardner, Robert Murray, Mark Gahegan, Elisabeth Hetzler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

417 Scopus citations


Developing reliable methods for representing and managing information uncertainty remains a persistent and relevant challenge to GIScience. Information uncertainty is an intricate idea, and recent examinations of this concept have generated many perspectives on its representation and visualization, with perspectives emerging from a wide range of disciplines and application contexts. In this paper, we review and assess progress toward visual tools and methods to help analysts manage and understand information uncertainty. Specifically, we report on efforts to conceptualize uncertainty, decision making with uncertainty, frameworks for representing uncertainty, visual representation and user control of displays of information uncertainty, and evaluative efforts to assess the use and usability of visual displays of uncertainty. We conclude by identifying seven key research challenges in visualizing information uncertainty, particularly as it applies to decision making and analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-160
Number of pages22
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'Visualizing geospatial information uncertainty: What we know and what we need to know'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this