Geovisualization Software and Geovisual Analytics (CP 8900-CA)

This special topics course will walk students through the principles of geovsiualization and geovisual analytic systems, with a focus on interactive components, digital cartographic design, geostatistical functionalities and display, and software UI configuration.  

Readings and activities in this class will substantially depend on the set of students who enroll and what best suits their geovisualization-related studies. We will seek suggestions and input throughout the semester as a class on the software we evaluate and explore and the articles we read. 

Class Times and Instructor

Class Times: Friday 9:30-11:30 (Class officially starts at 9, and this time will be used to answer questions. Formal instruction starts at 9:30). 3 Credit Hours. Room to be announced. (Likely College of Design (Arch Building or TSRB)).
Instructor: Dr. Clio Andris, T: 202-630-0085. Email: Office hours Friday 9-9:30.


Students must have either a geographic information systems (GIS) class earning a B or higher, a software development class earning a B or higher, or a data visualization class earning a B or higher at either the undergraduate or graduate level. Because of the prerequisite skills required for interactive discussions and self-guided explorations, no exceptions will be made.  


The primary objective for this course is to expose students with a technical background to geovisualization, geovisual analytics and sensemaking using spatial data and spatial statistics. This course builds upon digital cartography methods, geostatistical analysis and visualization methods, and the design of interactive software systems with linked components. The course will meet once per week, and students will share, discuss, and lead discussions / teaching sessions on both peer-reviewed research in geovisualization and geovisual analytics and on existing software systems that use spatial data and spatial computing.  

Course Objectives 

  1. Develop a command of geovisualization literature and developments over the past 60 years. 
  1. Describe different geospatial map types and map displays and interactive techniques. 
  1. List and explain key paradigms needed for effective interactive geovisualization. Relatedly, describe how and why “spatial is special” and what this means for software developers and users. 
  1. Examine different geovisual analytic software systems such as GeoDA, GeoVISTA Toolkit, VIS-STAMP, and visual tools such as Flowmapper and Kepler GL. 
  1. Build and evaluate dashboards using commercial software such as ArcGIS Online, Tableau, Microsoft PowerBI. 
  1. Learn about user perception and user studies using maps and visual variables in geovisualization. 
  1. Define the types of aspatial (e.g. self-organizing maps or force directed networks) AND spatial statistical methods (e.g., local indicators of spatial autocorrelation) that are ‘linked’ to maps either through similar symbology or through linking and brushing.  
  1. Describe functionality, tasks, and design goals inherent to geovisualization and geovisual analytics.  
  1. Evaluate systems (by listing pros and cons, etc.) based on best practices learned in this class. 
  1. Complete a project related to geovisualization or geovisual analytic systems. (TBD)
  1. Help fellow students learn about new software and develop concrete, written exercises (“lab exercises”) to help a group step through software and learn how to use it. 

Course Materials and Texts 

Materials: Laptop computer and Internet connection. ArcGIS accounts are required and can be configured at the start of the semester. Texts: We will use the GIS-T Body of Knowledge for various assignments, and PDFs of papers and related material will be shared on Canvas.  

Course Evaluation 

Students are expected to attend all lectures, read readings, and complete all assignments. Attendance is important because we only meet once a week. Please let the instructor know of any conferences or conflicts at the beginning of the semester. This is an in-person class. Lectures will be in person and will include hands-on activities.  

Content Number of Assignments Total Points 
Attendance and participation NA 30 
Software walkthroughs / Paper leader   discussions TBD 45 
Project Map 25 

How to be Successful 

Please engage in class. This means showing your classmates that you are paying attention and that class time and instruction is important to you. Be present in the lectures and do the readings (Information about information visualization comes in sentence form!). While slides give key points and high-level topics discussed, much of the content of the course comes through the discussion, and other in-class activities. If you want to do well, attending class is important.  All official due dates will be the due dates posted on Canvas.  

Week Date Topic Reading  
Fri 8/23 Datawrapper  (Thematic Maps)GIS-T Body of Knowledge Articles (to be assigned) 
Fri 8/30 Making a Simple Map (ArcGIS Online) DiversityMapper and ChainnessMapper 
Brewer, C, & A. Campbell. (1998) Beyond graduated circles: Varied point symbols for representing quantitative data on maps. Cartographic Perspectives 29: 6-25. 
Fri 9/6 Geovisualization at Georgia Tech Part 1 Examining geovisualization software systems developed at GT (SNoMAN, BinGuru, DualMapper, Migration mapping). 
Fri 9/13 Geovisualization at Georgia Tech Part 2Examining geovisualization software systems developed at GT (SNoMAN, BinGuru, DualMapper, Migration mapping).
Fri 9/20 COSIT Conference — No Class    COSIT Conference — No Class    
Fri 9/27 Flowmapper Koylu, C., Tian, G., & Windsor, M. (2023). Flowmapper. org: a web-based framework for designing origin–destination flow maps. Journal of Maps, 19(1), 1996479. 
Fri 10/4 Kepler GLGIS-T Body of Knowledge Articles (to be assigned) 
Fri 10/11 VIS-STAMP or SOM-VIS Guo, D., Chen, J., MacEachren, A. M., & Liao, K. (2006). A visualization system for space-time and multivariate patterns (vis-stamp). IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics, 12(6), 1461-1474.  
Fri 10/18 GeoDA Anselin, L., Syabri, I., & Kho, Y. (2009). GeoDa: an introduction to spatial data analysis. In Handbook of applied spatial analysis: Software tools, methods and applications (pp. 73-89). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 
10 Fri 10/25 IEEE VIS – Probably No Class  GIS-T Body of Knowledge Articles (to be assigned) 
11 Fri 11/1 Microsoft PowerBI / Tableau Roth, R. E. (2013). Interactive maps: What we know and what we need to know. Journal of Spatial Information Science, (6), 59-115. 
12 Fri 11/8 Microsoft PowerBI / TableauRoth, R. E et al. (2017). User studies in cartography: opportunities for empirical research on interactive maps and visualizations. International Journal of Cartography, 3(sup1), 61-89. 
13 Fri 11/15 NARSC conference No ClassRead over NACIS Maps. 
14 Fri 11/22 Thanksgiving – No Class    Thanksgiving – No Class   
15 Fri 11/29 Project Preparation 
Impactful Visualizations  
Project work
16 Fri 12/6 Project Presentations  (Open to the public)   Project work

Below are GIS-T Body of Knowledge Articles that are key to the course, helpful to the course and considered as prerequisite knowledge for the course. Students who do not have knowledge in the prerequisite topics will brush up on these topics the first week of class.  

Links will (e.g., will be added in class.  

Interactive Design Techniques 
[CV-05-013] User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) Design 
[CV-05-015] Web Mapping 
[CV-05-016] Virtual and Immersive Environments 
[CV-05-019] Big Data Visualization 
[CV-05-035] Geovisualization 
[CV-05-036] Geovisual Analytics 
[CV-05-038] Usability Engineering & Evaluation 
[CV-05-040] Mobile Maps and Responsive Design 

Map Use 
[CV-06-021] Map Reading 
[CV-06-022] Map interpretation 
[CV-06-023] Map analysis 

History and Trends 
[CV-01-001] Cartography and Science 
[CV-01-026] Cartography and Power  
[CV-01-027] Cartography and Art 
[CV-01-028] Lesson Design in Cartography Education 

Map Design Techniques 
[CV-04-011] Common Thematic Map Types 
[CV-04-012] Multivariate Mapping 
[CV-04-014] Terrain Representation 
[CV-04-017] Spatiotemporal Representation 
[CV-04-018] Representing Uncertainty 
[CV-04-031] Flow Maps 
[CV-04-032] Cartograms  
[CV-04-033] Narrative and Storytelling 
[CV-04-034] Map Icon Design 
[CV-04-042] Collaborative Cartography 


CV-03 Map Design Fundamentals  
[CV-03-004] Scale and Generalization 
[CV-03-005] Statistical Mapping (Enumeration, Normalization, Classification) 
[CV-03-006] Map Projections 
[CV-03-007] Visual Hierarchy and Layout 
[CV-03-008] Symbolization and the Visual Variables 
[CV-03-009] Color Theory 
[CV-03-010] Typography 
[CV-03-029] Design and Aesthetics 
[CV-03-030] Map Production and Management 

[CV-02] Data Considerations 
[CV-02-003] Vector Formats and Sources 
[CV-02-020] Raster Formats and Sources 

Ethics and Conduct 

Georgia Tech aims to cultivate a community based on trust, academic integrity, and honor. All homework assignments should be attempted individually. You are welcome to work together on conceptual issues and figuring out how to do things, but you must turn in individual work. Any code, models, texts, images, or deliverables that are not your original work should be clearly cited. Be careful with your pod work! 

All class participants should exercise utmost care in their use of others’ ideas and ensure such ideas are duly acknowledged. Plagiarism is a serious offense at this Institute and if I detect any instance of plagiarism the perpetrator will be reported and given failing grades in the class. Please make sure that you are familiar with the Honor Code

Any student suspected of cheating or plagiarizing on a quiz, exam, or assignment will be reported to the Office of Student Integrity, who will investigate the incident and identify the appropriate penalty for violations. 

Unless explicitly stated otherwise, you are expected to do homework on your own. It is appropriate to discuss your ideas with others to gain feedback and help with sticky problems.  It is not appropriate find existing solution online or from your friends, modify them, and submit as your own work.  If in doubt, confer with your instructor. It is much easier to ask about these things than handle the consequences of a poor decision. 


If you require course adaptations or accommodations due to a disability, we are happy to work with you and with the Office of Disability Services. If you have emergency medical information that the instructors should be aware of, or, if you need arrangements in the event the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment to discuss within the first week of classes, or, as soon as possible after a change in your circumstances occurs.