Chris McDowall: Talking about visual thinking

Day 1 of NDF 2015, 3.30pm session Tuesday 13 October 2015

Node-link diagrams are overwhelmingly the most common technique people use to visualise linked data. While they effectively represent networks of a few hundred nodes, larger datasets turn into an unruly tangle of lines and nodes that signify little more than a sense of connectivity. Other disciplines hold clues as to how to represent visual complexity. Cartographers have developed and refined a wide range techniques for conveying geographic meaning in constrained graphical spaces. This talk will explore what we can learn about visualising networks from traditional and digital maps, paying particular attention to scale, levels of detail, generalisation and labelling.

Chris McDowall is a geographer turned data specialist. During the day he is the Manager of DigitalNZ Systems at the National Library. At night he makes maps. @fogonwater