Geography 970

March 15, 2010

30 years in the making

Filed under: Uncategorized — markharrower @ 10:26 am

Short article with examples about how we’re now visualizing all kinds of networks and human infrastructures. However, I definitely take exception to the idea that this is something new (see my previous post about Victorian Infographics). Moreover, Jeanne Haffner seems to have re-invented the visualization wheel by invoking Geertz (the idea that, hey, maps are great tools for thinking!) when this is, in  fact, mainstream geovis orthodoxy (and has been for 20+ years). Just becuase it’s new *to some folks* doesn’t mean Tobler and Moellering weren’t visualizing 3D animated traffic patterns and modeling/visualizing urban growth rates using computer animation since long before these bloggers were born. Still, nice to see people excited about the idea that visualization is helpful…even if that realizing took 30 years to hit the mainstream.



  1. I think this is one of the challenges of our information-rich society. There’s too much to keep track of. I can’t imagine anything I’ve been saying on this blog is new (including this comment), but I’ve reached the point where I’m just sort of giving up on trying to keep up enough that I don’t repeat the work of others. I’m not sure of any other way to manage it. Will the Internet actually overwhelm people to the point that it may make them less intellectually connected? Perhaps not, but sometimes I feel that way.

    Comment by Daniel Huffman — March 15, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  2. I completely agree that we’re overloaded AND things are changing much faster AND going in totally new directions everyday. I don’t think it’s ever been less possible to be an expert that it is today. However, the internet is also a great way to learn about what’s happening in other fields. Still, finding the time to read even a few blogs/journals within your field can be a fulltime job. So, bottom line: hooray for maps and double hooray for people wanting to use maps more than ever.

    Comment by markharrower — March 15, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

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