Photography by:
  • Craig Higson-Smith & Raeesa Mohamed

Geovisual analytics

The way in which information is displayed is key to understanding its underlying meaning. With data analytics and visualisation being at the convergence of GCRO's research, this project aims to explore different state of the art techniques for preparing and visualising data in general and geospatial data in particular. It is motivated by the need to enhance the current GCRO QoL and GIS online viewers with geovisual analytics capabilities in view of improving the intuitiveness and enabling an easy understanding of the analysis results presented on both platforms.

The two main visualisation techniques to be explored in this project are: geovisual analytics and interactive mapping. Andrieno et al. (2010) refer to visual analytics as a multidisciplinary field of research that brings together researchers specialising in information visualisation, scientific visualisation and geographic visualisation to collaborate with researchers specialising in statistical analysis and modeling, machine learning and data mining and geographical analysis. Geovisual analytics takes advantage of the spatial and temporal components inherent in geospatial data to leverage on the analysis and visualisation of statistical data. The ultimate goal is to lead the viewer to reflect on the results of the analysis by viewing and/or interacting with the presented visuals. For the purpose of this interactive mapping project will be explored through the use of story maps coupled with interactive geovisuals. As an example, Ho et al. (2013) made the results of statistical analysis easy to access and understand by the general public after developing a ‘Geovisual Analytics’ framework for storytelling built with HTML5 and Javascript library.

Not only will the outcomes of this project benefit GCRO researchers in terms of probing the data through Geovisual analytics techniques, but also various GCRO audiences such as GCR government officials will also be able to easily engage and draw insight from the published analysis results. Furthermore, in reference to the 10-pillar programme of change produced by the Premier’s Office, the resulting efforts of this project will contribute towards the modernisation of state and governance with novel approaches of analysing and visualising the GCR geospatial data.

This research will start by exploring the underlying concepts involved in geovisual analytics, interactive mapping and storytelling by doing a survey of related literature. A series of investigations and experiments with different existing software and technologies suitable for performing geovisual analytics, interactive mapping and storytelling of statistical data will be conducted. Options for replacing the current GIS server with a new one which will be capable of supporting various enhancements will also be explored. The results of the investigations and experiments will form the basis of academic outputs such as posters, conference or journal articles and for various enhancements of the GIS Viewer and Ward Profile Viewer.

Finally, a GeoVisualization (also known as the GeoViz) reading group has been established as a collaboration between the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) and the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies (GAES). Team involved includes GCRO colleagues: Mncedisi Siteleki, Samkelisiwe Khanyile, Samy Katumba and Dr Stefania Merlo (GAES).


Story Map: Transforming transport in the Gauteng City-Region October 2015

Mncedisi Siteleki, Ngaka Mosiane, Alexandra Parker. Story Map: Shifting borders and bridges. September 2017

Alexandra Parker. Story Map: Institutional borders and bridges. September 2017

Samkelisiwe Khanyile, Gillian Maree, Christina Culwick, Alexandra Parker. Story Map: Resource borders and bridges. September 2017

Christian Hamman, Alexandra Parker. Story Map: Social borders and bridges. September 2017

Last update: 20 October 2017


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