computers. It also discusses representation and interaction technologies specifically designed to support group collaboration.

To date, most research on human interaction with geospatial data has roots in one of three domains: visualization (including computer graphics, cartography, information visualization, and exploratory data analysis), human-computer interaction, and computer-supported cooperative work. There has been only limited integration across these domains.1 The committee notes that although continued research in each remains important, an integrated perspective will be essential for coping with the problem contexts envisioned, such as crisis management, urban and regional planning, and interactions between humans and the environment.


Most advances in computing and information technology affect some aspect of human interaction with geospatial information. Four in particular are driving forces, with the potential to enable richer, more productive interactions:

  • Display and interface technologies. As noted above, human interaction with geospatial information has been linked to visual display for centuries (e.g., the use of paper maps to represent geographic space in the world). Recent advances include developments in immersive virtual environments, large and very high-resolution panel displays, flexible (roll-up) displays, multimodal interfaces, and new architectures supporting usability.

  • Distributed system technologies. Technologies that support remote access to information and remote collaboration also are having a dramatic impact on how people interact with information of all kinds. Among these are high-bandwidth networking, wireless networks and communication, digital library technologies, and interactive television.

  • Mobile, wearable, and embedded technologies. Until recently, most human interaction with computerized or displayed geospatial information required desktop visual displays. Particularly relevant new technologies include wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs) that support both data collection and information dissemination; augmented reality devices that


Two notable exceptions are National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis research initiative 13, “User Interfaces for Geographic Information Systems,” and the ACM SIGGRAPH Carto Project, a 3-year collaboration with the International Cartographic Association focused on geovisualization. More information is available at <>.

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