Publication Date


Committee Chair

Karen K. Kemp, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Mark P. Kumler, Ph.D.


By coining the descriptive phrase ―user-centric geographic cosmology, Goodchild (1998), challenges the geographically oriented to address GIS in the broadest imaginable context: as interlocutor between persons and geo-phenomena. This investigation responds both in a general way, and more specifically, to the representations of change in GIS modeling and visualization leading to dynamic mapping.

The investigation, consisting of a report and a series of experiments, explores and demonstrates prototype workarounds that enhance GIS capabilities by drawing upon ideas, techniques, and components from agent-based modeling and visualization software, and suggests shifts at the conceptual, methodological, and technical levels.

The workarounds and demonstrations presented here are four-dimensional visualizations, representing changes and behaviors of different types of entities such as living creatures, mobile assets, features, structures, and surfaces, using GIS, agent-based modeling and animation techniques. In a typical case, a creature begins as a point feature in GIS, becomes a mobile and interactive object in agent-based modeling, and is fleshed out to three dimensions in an animated representation. In contrast, a land surface remains much the same in all three stages. The experiments address change in location, orientation, shape, visual attributes, viewpoint, scale, and speed in applications representing predator-prey, search and destroy, sense and locate and urban sprawl. During the experiments, particular attention is paid to factors of modeling and visualization involved in engaging human sensing and cognitive abilities.