Designing a Rule-based Wizard for Visualizing Statistical Data on Thematic Maps

Angeliki Tsorlini, René Sieber, Lorenz Hurni, Hubert Klauser, Thomas Gloor


Thematic maps are used in a wide range of scientific fields to illustrate specific geographic phenomena. For their correct construction, the mapmaker has to select the appropriate data, and then consider different parameters and constraints in order to visualize them effectively. In this paper, these parameters were analyzed, so that a consistent and standardized workflow for producing thematic maps could be set up. This workflow served as the basis for designing and implementing a step-by-step wizard-based application. Its goal is to guide mapmakers—experts or laypersons—to create cartographically sound thematic maps based on statistical data, in a user-friendly way. To standardize the procedure, we analyzed the relationships between different mapping techniques and the types of data with which they are used to illustrate a geographic phenomenon. Based on this analysis, we created a new taxonomy of mapping techniques and used it to automate the selection procedure within the wizard. This analysis could also be of general use for researchers producing thematic maps in different mapping applications.


thematic cartography; thematic mapping techniques; cartographic design principles; wizard-based application

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