GEO 407/507:
Seminar in Geosciences Research
Geovisualization: A Window to Earth Surface, Structure, and System

Gilfillan Auditorium, Tuesdays, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
(Refreshments and conversation 3:45 - 4:00 p.m.)

Winter 2007 Instructor: Dawn Wright,, 737-1229

Sign up for this course using CRN 28265 for GEO 407 or CRN 21785 for GEO 507 (1 credit).

How to PASS GEO 407/507

The purpose of this course is to give you broader exposure to cutting-edge research in the geosciences, under the specific theme of geovisualization . One of the best ways to do this, of course, is to LISTEN. So in order to pass the course you need to attend at least 8 out of the 10 sessions. Always feel free to PARTICIPATE by asking questions of the speaker or offering comments.

Another important part of "Geosciences Research" is to "know thy speaker." Oftentimes in the "real world" of academia we challenge or inspire ourselves by reading the works of others who are publishing in a different part of our field, or in a different field altogether. We are especially prompted to do so if introduced to the person's work in a departmental seminar or at a conference. This may even lead us to a new direction of inquiry or a brand new research specialty. To give you a sense of this process, you will also need to the do the following in order to pass the course:


See Dr. Wright for your own copy of the seminar poster or visit

Her office is Wilkinson 114, office hours TR 12:15-1:15

Some Background Information

Geovisualization combines approaches such as 3-D scientific visualization, image processing, computer graphics, animation, simulation, and virtual reality in order to help present information in a new way so that patterns can be found, greater understanding can be developed, and scientific and societal problems can be solved (e.g., Buckley et al., 2004). It is a particularly hot area of research right now, having, for instance, been recognized nationally and internationally as one of the "grand challenges" of geographic information science, aka "GIScience." Some examples in the US include geovisualization as one of the main research priorities of the 70+-member University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, and the Department of Homeland Security's new National Visualization and Analytics Center. In Europe geovisualization is a research priority of the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories in Europe (AGILE) and of the European Science Foundation. Geovisualization is visualization as it relates to spatial data, and can therefore be applied to all stages of problem-solving in geographical and geological analysis, from the development of initial hypotheses, to analysis, knowledge discovery, presentation and evaluation (e.g., Buckley et al, 2006). While broader information visualization is being developed in nearly all branches of science, geovisualization is a domain to which geographers and geologists are uniquely positioned to contribute.

Geovisualization, and the broader discipline of geographic information science, are now also a key strategic areas for research and education at OSU, and certainly for the Department of Geosciences. More than 30 units on campus are involved in GIScience research and education. OSU is the only university west of the Mississippi that offers a certificate in GIScience (by way of cartography, remote sensing, quantitative analysis, and surveying, as well as GIS), and the GIScience certificate is offered at all three levels (undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree professional). OSU is the only university in the US that offers a graduate minor in Ecosystem Informatics. Many research enterprises at OSU (e.g., the H.J. Andrews Long-term Ecological Research program, the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans [PISCO], the Institute for Water and Watersheds, the Institute for Natural Resources, the College of Oceanic & Atmospheric Sciences, and the Native American Collaborative Institute) produce and work with spatial and temporal data whose significance would be facilitated by geovisualization. The College of Engineering is planning to propose OSU as a Center of Excellence in Engineering, based in part on efforts in cyber-infrastructure

Buckley, A.R, Gahegan, M, and Clarke, K., Geographic visualization, in McMaster, R.B. and Usery, E.L., A Research Agenda for Geographic Information Science, Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 313-334, 2004.

Buckley, A.R, Clarke, K., and Gahegan, M., UCGIS Geographic Visualization Research Priorities, Revisited, UCGIS White Paper, Leesburg, VA, University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, 20 pp., 2006.
Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University,
Corvallis OR 97331-5506
Phone (541) 737-1201, Fax (541) 737-1200