Bertin - Special topic

Bertin’s Sémiologie Graphique @ 50 – II

6703.1 - (re)Considering Bertin in the Age of Big Data and Visual Analytics

Thursday, July 6
4:10 PM - 4:30 PM
Location: Virginia A

In the half century since publication of Bertin’s Sémiologie Graphique, we have witnessed substantial changes in cartography and in related visualization and GISCience research fields. There has been a dramatic evolution (if not revolution) in science and technology related to geographical information, its processing, its accessibility, and its display. Similarly, our understanding of human perception and cognition as they relate to maps and other graphical displays has also progressed fairly rapidly over the past 50 years. Advances in science and technology associated with Big Data generally (not just geographical data), together with advances in understanding of human perception and cognition are central to approaches being taken in (geo)Visual Analytics to develop methods and tools that support reasoning and decision-making in many contexts. Thus, it is worth considering how Bertin’s ideas, that were grounding in his graphic/cartographic expertise and in his intuitions about how humans see and think with static maps of 'small data' (and related graphical displays) apply to current research challenges related to Big Data and Visual Analytics.

This presentation will outline a selection of core ideas articulated by Bertin (emphasizing those from Sémiologie Graphique, but also touching on a few ideas from his later Graphics and Graphic Information Processing). First, a few key impacts of these ideas on subsequent developments in geovisualization and information visualization will be outlined. A core question to be addressed here is “How robust have Bertin’s ideas been to changes in technology for maps and related graphics (e.g., from static print to interactive web and smart phone) and to changes in the roles that these display forms have taken on?”. Next, building on this base, attention will be directed to the current role of Bertin’s ideas in the context of Big Data and Visual Analytics. Key issues that will be considered include the challenges of: data volume, dynamic data, data heterogeneity, and interactivity. Additionally, the role of visual representations in thinking will be addressed in relation to Bertin’s rules for data signification. Questions to be discussed here include: “What is the relevance of Sémiologie Graphique to support of analytical reasoning with interactive visual interfaces?” and “Do we need a second generation Sémiologie Graphique focused on displays making up the interactive visual interfaces of visual analytics applications, and if so what questions should it answer?”

Alan M. MacEachren

Professor of Geography
Penn State University

Alan M. MacEachren is Professor of Geography, Affiliate Professor of Information Sciences & Technology, and Director of the GeoVISTA Center at the Pennsylvania State University. MacEachren’s research foci include: geovisual analytics, cartography, geovisualization, geographical information retrieval/geoparsing, visual semiotics, spatial cognition, human-centered systems, user-centered design, geocollaboration. He is author of How Maps Work: Representation, Visualization and Design and Some Truth with Maps, as well as co-editor of additional books and journal special issues. He chaired the ICA Commission on Visualization (1999-2005). MacEachren is an Honorary Fellow of the ICA (2005) and was elected as a Fellow of AAAS in 2014.


Send Email for Alan MacEachren

Sara Irina Fabrikant

University of Zurich

Sara Irina Fabrikant, a Swiss Mapematician and Geography Professor is Head Teaching of the Geography Department at the University of Zurich, where she also heads the Geographic Information Visualisation and Analysis Group. She currently serves the ICA as a Vice President. Her research interests lie in geovisual analytics, GIScience and cognition, and dynamic cartography. She is a member of the Swiss Science & Innovation Council. She has been the program committee co-chair of various conferences (e.g., AGILE 2008, GIScience 2010, CartoCon 2014, COSIT 2015), and also serves as a member of various editorial journal boards in her field of research.


Send Email for Sara Irina Fabrikant


6703.1 - (re)Considering Bertin in the Age of Big Data and Visual Analytics

Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for (re)Considering Bertin in the Age of Big Data and Visual Analytics