Sara Fabrikant, University of Zurich


Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South S050

Sara Fabrikant is Professor of Geographic Information Visualization & Analysis in the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich.
[ faculty website ]

Affective and effective geographic information visualization
For thousands of years cartographers have systematically transformed spatial data into two-, three- or four-dimensional visuo-spatial displays. This process is typically performed by applying scientific (i.e., systematic, transparent, and reproducible) cartographic design methods, as well as aesthetic expressivity. Cartographers have not only been driven by "what looks good", and “what feels right”, but increasingly they become interested in how and why a particular design solution works well or not. I will highlight how knowledge from cognitive science and vision research, including physio-psychological science can help (geographic) information visualization experts systematically assess their design solutions, which are increasingly interactive and mobile. We have employed evaluation methods including eye tracking and ambulatory psychophysiological monitoring for this purpose. Cognitive/vision theories help us make sense of the collected empirical data, guiding the process of designing maps for salience and positive engagement, thus creating useful visual analytics tools. I will also discuss how cartographic methods themselves can help researchers make sense of data collected in user studies. This includes tools and methods such as sequence analysis and visual analytics.

Dr. Sara Irina Fabrikant is a professor of geography and the head of the Geographic Information Visualization and Analysis (GIVA) group at the GIScience Center of the Geography Department of the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Her research and teaching interests lie in geographic information visualization and visual analytics (geovis), GIScience and cognition, graphical user interface design and evaluation, including dynamic cartography. She was awarded a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship to study Geographic Information Science for one academic year at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1993. Currently, Sara is the elected chair of the Cognitive Visualization Commission of the International Cartographic Association, and serving on the editorial boards of eight of the leading journals in geography/GIScience, and cartography. This is in addition to her program committee memberships for various international GIScience and cartography related conferences. She has been the co-organizer and co-program committee chair of the international GIScience 2010 conference in Zurich, Switzerland. She has delivered various presentations and keynotes at national and international professional meetings, including invited keynotes and other lectures at universities in North America, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand. Other service includes memberships and pro-active involvements with the Association of American Geographers, the International Cartographic Association’s Commission on Geovisualization, the North American Cartographic Information Society, the Canadian Cartographic Association, and the Swiss Society of Cartography.