Computer Cartography and Geovisualization (GEOG: 473, Fall 2009)

Course Objective and Description
The goal of this course is to introduce the basic principles and methods of cartography and geovisualization, and their applications in geography and related domains. Principles to be covered include map projections, symbolization, classification, and generalization. Methods focus on 2D and 3D mapping techniques, spatiotemporal visualization, and web mapping. Through hands-on laboratory exercises students will develop the skill necessary to use popular GIS software packages (including commercial and open source) for understanding the principles and methods of cartography and geovisualization, and how to apply them to solve geographic problems of interest.

Dr. Wenwu Tang
Office: 324 Davenport Hall
Office Hour: 11:30AM - 12:30PM Tuesday and Thursday or by appointment


  • Slocum, T.A., McMaster, R.B., Kessler, F., and Howard, H.H., 2008. Thematic Cartography and Geovisualization (3rd Edition). Prentice Hall (ISBN 0-13-2298341). (Required)
  • Cunningham, S., 2006. Computer Graphics: Programming in OpenGL for Visual Communication (1st Edition). Prentice Hall (ISBN 0-13-1452541). (Optional)


Lecture Notes - Introduction (08/25/09)
Lecture Notes - Statistical and Graphical Foundation (08/27/09) Example Data
Lecture Notes - Coordinate Systems and Map Projections (09/01/09-09/03/09)
Lecture Notes - Data Classification (09/08/09-09/10/09)
Lecture Notes - Generalization (09/15/09-09/17/09)
Lecture Notes - Symbolization (09/22/09-09/24/09)
Lecture Notes - Color, Map Elements, and Typography (09/29/09-10/01/09)
Lecture Notes - Cartographic Design (10/06/09-10/08/09)
Lecture Notes - Choropleth and Isarithmic Mapping (10/20/09-10/22/09)
Lecture Notes - Proportional Symbol, Dot, and Dasymetric Mapping (10/27/09-10/29/09)
Lecture Notes - Multivariate Mapping, Cartogram, and Flow Maps (11/03/09-11/05/09)
Lecture Notes - Terrain Visualization and Map Animation (11/10/09-11/12/09)
Lecture Notes - Uncertainity Visualization(11/17/09-11/19/09)
Lecture Notes - Web Mapping(12/01/09-12/03/09)
Lecture Notes - Review(12/03/09)

Lab Handouts
A Lab Write-up Template
Lab1 - Introduction to ArcGIS
Lab2 - Map Projection (FYI Universal Transverse Mercator Coordinate Systems *)
Lab3 - Map Design1
Lab4 - Map Design2
Lab6 - Univariate Mapping 1
Lab7 - Univariate Mapping 2
Lab8 - Multivariate Mapping
Lab9 - Geovisualization 1&2
Lab10 - Web Mapping

Lab Datasets
Lab2 Data | Lab3 Data | Lab4 Data | Lab6 Data | Lab6 How To Enable Spatial Analyst Tool | Lab9 Data | Lab10 Data |


Supplemental Readings

  • Armstrong, M. P., N. Xiao, and D. A. Bennett. 2003. Using Genetic Algorithms to Create Multicriteria Class Intervals for Choropleth Maps. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 93 (3):595 - 623.
  • De Boor, C. 2001. A Practical Guide to Splines. New York: Springer Verlag.
  • Dykes, J., A. M. MacEachren, and M.-J. Kraak, eds. 2005. Exploring Geovisualization. New York: Elsevier.
  • Jenks, G. F., and F. C. Caspall. 1971. Error on Choroplethic Maps: Definition, Measurement, Reduction. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 61 (2):217-244.
  • McMaster, R. B., and S. K. Shea. 1992. Generalization in Digital Cartography. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Geographers.
  • Peng, Z. R., and M.-H. Tsou. 2003. Internet GIS: Distributed Geographic Information Services for the Internet and Wireless Networks. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Web Links