Sara Fabrikant: Envisioning graphic displays that work

FabrikantResearchers in cartography and geovisualization have a long-standing tradition of developing effective methods to construct attractive-looking map displays. More recently, the (geo)visual analytics community has focused on building tools and highly interactive human-computer interfaces to depict rapidly growing and dynamically changing spatio-temporal databases for solving pressing societal and environmental problems.  However, there has been very little empirical work and fundamental investigations based on empirical evidence, as to why map designs or visual analytics tools work, and if they do, for whom, and in which use contexts. To this day, we still know little about the effectiveness of graphic displays for exploratory space-time data analysis, problem solving, knowledge exploration, learning, and decision-making.

I report on current progress and future opportunities in the development of cognitively and perceptually affective, effective, and efficient geographic information technology, based on convincing empirical evidence; on the formalization and design of a sound graphic language for information visualization and geovisual analytics based on empirical results; and on the design and empirical evaluation of interfaces in order to effectively and efficiently access information to make informed and meaningful spatio-temporal decisions.