Speaker Bios and Abstracts

Dr. Ming-Hsaing Tsou

Department of Geography, San Diego State University
Email: mtsou@mail.sdsu.edu
Website: http://map.sdsu.edu/tsou
Wildfire Interactive mapping site: http://map.sdsu.edu

Abstract: New Research Directions of Internet GIS and Web-based GeoVisualization for the San Diego 2007 Wildfires

Internet GIS is the cyber-infrastructure framework for geographic information services, which utilize both wired and wireless Internet to access geographic information, spatial analytical tools, and GIS web services. This talk will introduce the concepts, technologies, theories, and future research directions of Internet GIS and Web Mapping Services. Clearly, the progress of Internet GIS implies an invisible revolution of GIS -- from closed, centralized geographic information systems to open, distributed geographic information services. The development of Internet GIS will encourage people to share geodata, exchange GIS programs, and accumulate the knowledge of geographic information science. Internet GIS provide a brand-new view for geographers, urban planners, GIS professionals, and scientists to analyze and represent our world.

Recent wildfires in southern California demonstrate the need of creating new research focuses of Internet GIS and GeoVisualization. Disaster management (or emergency management) is unique among Internet GIS applications because it deals directly with loss of human life and property damage. Disaster management is a complex domain of human activity involving multiple agencies and stakeholders. A collaborative approach utilizing state-of-the-art Internet GIS and mobile GIServices can facilitate a comprehensive and functional disaster management plan. This talk will also address the experiences we learned when applying Internet GIS and Web mapping services for the recent San Diego 2007 wildfires. During the wildfires, we realized that some Web mapping technologies are useful, and some are not. There are still some major challenges in the development of Internet GIS and Web mapping services for disaster management and responses.


Ming-Hsiang (Ming) Tsou is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, San Diego State University. He received a B.S. from National Taiwan University in 1991, an M.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1996, and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2001, all in Geography.

His research interests are in Internet mapping and distributed GIS applications, mobile GIS and wireless communication, multimedia cartography and user interface design, and software agents with GRID computing technology. He has applied his research interests in applications such as wildfire mapping, environmental monitoring and management, habitat conservation, and homeland border security. He is co-author of the book, Internet GIS: distributed geographic information services for the Internet and wireless networks.

Dr. Tsou was the co-chair of the NASA Earth Science Enterprise Data System Working Group (ESEDWG) Standard Process Group (SPG) from 2004 to 2007. He is a member of the Association of American Geographers and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. Dr. Tsou is currently the Chair of the Cartographic Specialty Group in the Association of American Geographers (AAG) and the Webmaster for the Geographic Information Science and System (GISS) Specialty Group in AAG.

He received the 2004 Outstanding Faculty Award at San Diego State University. Dr. Tsou was recently listed in Marquis Publishing Who's Who in America in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and was appointed by the National Academy of Science to serve on the committee on "Research Priorities for the USGS Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science" in 2006. In 2007, Dr. Tsou created and maintained an interactive Web-based mapping services for San Diego Wildfires 2007 and his efforts have been recognized by the AAG newsletters and the San Diego Union Tribune (newspaper).

Dr. Colin Ware

Director, Data Visualization Research Lab,
Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, University of New Hampshire
Email: colinw@cisunix.unh.edu
Website: http://ccom.unh.edu/vislab

Abstract : Visual Thinking and Geo-Spatial Data Visualization

Geo-spatial data visualizations are interactive visual thinking tools help us extract meaning from data through process of visual pattern search. This talk will begin with an overview of visual thinking considered as an active process involving visualizations as well as the more usual cognitive constructs such as visual working memory. I will give three examples that show how the application of elementary cognitive theory can help us explain large differences in the efficiency of user interfaces. The first example addresses the question of when extra windows are needed in a geospatial visualization interface. The second example is an interactive system designed to allow reasoning with much larger network diagrams than can be normally be displayed a screen. The third example is based on the interactive graphical tools we have developed to analyze data obtained from tagged humpback whales. From this last example I will make the case, based on simple active vision-based arguments, that turning time varying data into spatial patterns is almost always the right thing to do. My broader goal will be to argue we need a kind of cyborg psychology in which both cognitive tools and the human brain are considered as a cognitive systems.


Colin Ware is Director of the Data Visualization Research Lab - which is part of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire. Ware has a special interest in applying theories of perception to the design of geospatial data interfaces. He has advanced degrees in both computer science (MMath, Waterloo) and in the psychology of perception (PhD,Toronto).

He has published over 120 scientific articles ranging from rigorously scientific contributions to the Journal of Physiology and Vision Research to applications oriented articles in ACM Transactions on Graphics and Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. His book Information Visualization: Perception for Design is now in its second edition. His new book, Visual Thinking for Design, is about to appear. Ware also likes to build practical visualization systems. Fledermaus, a commercial 3D geospatial visualization system widely used in oceanography developed from his initial prototypes.

Dr. Robert McMaster

Department of Geography, University of Minnesota

Abstract : The National Historic Geographic Information System (NHGIS): A Visualization of Space and Time

The National Historic Geographic Information System (NHGIS) is a five-year NSF-funded project designed to create a comprehensive U.S. census database--at the census tract and county level--for both the geographical and attribute data. Technological change presents an unprecedented opportunity to make these data readily available for social science research; thus bringing the complete census within reach of social scientists will unlock the potential of two centuries of data collection, and will stimulate research in economics, history, sociology, geography and other fields.

The project consists of three major components: data and documentation, mapping, and data access.

  • The data and documentation component gathers all extant machine-readable census summary data; fills holes in the surviving machine-readable data through data entry of paper census tabulations; harmonizes the formats and documentation of all files; and produces standardized electronic documentation according to the recently developed Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) specification.
  • The mapping component creates consistent historical electronic boundary files for tracts, minor civil divisions, counties and larger geographic units.
  • The data access component creates a powerful but user-friendly web-based browser and extraction system, based on the new DDI metadata standard. The system provides public access free of charge to both documentation and data, and presents results in the form of tables or maps.

This database will enable researchers to pursue many types of geodemographic analysis not possible before. Two additional research activities for the project include areal interpolation and cartographic generalization. We have now developed and tested a multitude of different interpolation algorithms that will allow researchers to make direct statistical comparisons across decades. For instance, a user might wish to calculate the percent change in poverty from 1960 to 1990 for Los Angeles. Research on the project is also exploring the creation of multiple scale databases at 1:150,000, 1:400,000, and 1:1,000,000 through the application of generalization algorithms. All boundary and statistical data will be delivered through a Web interface, and was made available in the summer of 2006.


Robert B. McMaster is Professor and Chair of The Department of Geography at the University of Minnesota. From 2002-2005 he served as Associate Dean for Planning in the College of Liberal Arts. He received a B.A. (cum laude) from Syracuse University in 1978 and a Ph.D. in Geography and Meteorology from the University of Kansas in 1983. He has held previous appointments at UCLA (1983-1988) and Syracuse University (1988-1989). At the University of Minnesota, his research interests include automated generalization (including algorithmic development and testing, the development of conceptual models, and interface design), environmental risk assessment (including assessing environmental injustice to hazardous materials, the development of new spatial methodologies for environmental justice, and the development of risk assessment models), Geographic information science and society (public participation GIS, alternative representations), and the history of U.S. academic cartography. Recently, he completed a five-year NSF funded project to develop the 'National Historical Geographic Information System'. He has published several books including: Map Generalization: Making Rules for Knowledge Representation (with B. Buttenfield), Generalization in Digital Cartography (with K. Stuart Shea), Thematic Cartography and Geographic Visualization (with T. Slocum, F. Kessler and H. Howard), A Research Agenda for Geographic Information Science (with E. L. Usery), and Scale and Geographic Inquiry (with E. Sheppard). His papers have been published in The American Cartographer, Cartographica, The International Yearbook of Cartography, Geographical Analysis, Geographical Systems, Cartography and GIS, The International Journal of Exposure Analysis, and many conference proceedings, including Auto-Carto, and Spatial Data Handling.

Robert McMaster served as editor of the journal Cartography and Geographic Information Systems from 1990-1996, and the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Resource Publications in Geography. He served as Chair of both the AAG's Cartography and Geographic Information Systems Specialty Groups, served three years on the National Steering Committee for the GIS/LIS 1992, 1993, and 1994 conferences, was Co-Director (with Marc Armstrong) of the Eleventh International Symposium on Computer-Assisted Cartography (Auto-Carto-11), served on the U.S. National Committee to the International Cartographic Association, and as a member of the Advisory Board for the Center for Mapping at Ohio State University. He also served as President of the United States' Cartography and Geographic Information Society and both Chair of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science's (UCGIS) Research Committee and UCGIS Board Member (1999-2002, 2005-present, and President elect of UCGIS). In 1999, he was elected as a Vice President of the International Cartographic Association, and was re-elected in 2003. He was recently appointed to a three-year term on the National Research Council's Mapping Science Committee.

Dr. Mark Harrower

Department of Geography
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Email: maharrower@wisc.edu
Website: http://www.geography.wisc.edu/~harrower/

Abstract : Visualizing Geographic Processes

The digital revolution has changed how we make maps, how we use them, and how we think about them. Dynamic geospatial systems are increasingly integrated throughout the research process and allow experts to think through complex problems visually. One of the guiding principles of geovisualization is that users must be allowed to freely explore complex geographic data both to confirm existing hypotheses and to formulate new ones. In the last ten years there has been an explosion of available geospatial data. What remains is the challenge of turning these data into useable information. The use of interactive maping systems spans a conceptual space from private, exploratory knowledge construction through interactive public presentations. This field has emerged as traditional disciplinary boundaries blur, drawing on work in GIS, cartography, remote sensing, computer science, semiotics, cognitive science, and software engineering. Examples of prototype geographic visualization systems and mapping techniques will be demonstrated, including the latest approaches to representing uncertainty and error in geospatial data, dynamically linked statistical and cartographic systems, tools for exploring the impact of temporal and spatial scale, and 3D map animation.


Mark Harrower is an Assistant Professor of Geography and Associate Director of the Cartography Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His current research interests include perceptual and cognitive issues in map animation (in particular, 3D maps), interface design for maps, developing Web-based mapping tools and services, and critical cartography/GIScience. Mark also serves on the editorial board of Cartographica, CaGIS, Cartographic Perspectives, and Blackwell Compass and is an active member of the ICA Commission on Visualization and Virtual Environments, the Cartography Specialty Group of the AAG, and the North American Cartographic Information Society.