Visualization for constructing and sharing geo-scientific concepts

Alan M. MacEachren, Mark Gahegan, William Pike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Representations of scientific knowledge must reflect the dynamic nature of knowledge construction and the evolving networks of relations between scientific concepts. In this article, we describe initial work toward dynamic, visual methods and tools that support the construction, communication, revision, and application of scientific knowledge. Specifically, we focus on tools to capture and explore the concepts that underlie collaborative science activities, with examples drawn from the domain of human-environment interaction. These tools help individual researchers describe the process of knowledge construction while enabling teams of collaborators to synthesize common concepts. Our visualization approach links geographic visualization techniques with concept-mapping tools and allows the knowledge structures that result to be shared through a Web portal that helps scientists work collectively to advance their understanding. Our integration of geovisualization and knowledge representation methods emphasizes the process through which abstract concepts can be contextualized by the data, methods, people, and perspectives that produced them. This contextualization is a critical component of a knowledge structure, without which much of the meaning that guides the sharing of concepts is lost. By using the tools we describe here, human-environment scientists are given a visual means to build concepts from data (individually and collectively) and to connect these concepts to each other at appropriate levels of abstraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5279-5286
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Apr 6 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Visualization for constructing and sharing geo-scientific concepts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this