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The vision of the CogVis Commission co-Chairs is that this commission will continue to work to provide the empirical basis for developing a cognition and perception-informed theoretical framework on which the design of successful static, dynamic and interactive maps; geovisual analytics displays and systems; and effective human-computer interaction should rest. We are also committed to building linkages with cognate disciplines such as likeminded researchers in psychology, cognitive science, vision science, human-computer interaction, and the design sciences. Thereby, the CogVis Commission’s work would support that of other existing ICA Commissions, while in turn our own work will be informed by map, geovisualization and human-computer interaction design problems identified by other ICA Commissions.

For example, while the Map Design Commission aims to identify examples of good cartographic practice that underpin high quality, effective map design (i.e., what), our Commission would empirically assess the identified examples to understand why, how and for whom the employed practices lead to a good quality design. Similarly, while the Visual Analytics Commission aims to identify novel methods and develop new tools for the analysis of spatio-temporal information through interactive visual interfaces (i.e., what and how), our commission would empirically assess the developed examples to understand why and for whom human inference, analytical reasoning, and spatio-temporal decision making with visual displays work more effectively and efficiently. Finally, while the Use, Users and Usability Commission aims to study map use context including users, use cases, and usability (i.e., who and how), our commission would provide the empirically ground theoretical framework to understand identified use and user issues (i.e., why and for whom).


  • Promote the awareness of cognitive issues in cartography, developing human-centered cartographic theory and practice based on sound empirical findings on the use of cartographic displays for spatiotemporal inference and decision-making.
  • In conjunction with the Commission on Geovisualization, Commission on Use and User Issues, and Commission on Map Design, develop and publish a research agenda for that outlines major research challenges for interactive cartography that we should work towards addressing as a community.
  • Define short and medium term research goals that fall within the scope of this research agenda and that address key issues associated with building a sound theoretical base to support the construction and use of cognitively adequate and perceptually salient visual displays of geographic information.
  • Encourage interdisciplinary and international collaboration with cognate disciplines and relevant stakeholders, including other ICA commissions and working groups.

Specific envisioned research foci will include (but are not limited to):

  • empirical geovisualization design research (2-3D, static, animated and interactive, virtual and immersive, mobile, etc.)
  • the application of cognitive theories and methods to understanding visuo-spatial displays and tool use for inference and decision-making (including mental maps, space-time behavior, navigation, etc.)
  • the application of visuo-spatial displays and tools to understanding spatial cognition
  • spatial reasoning, inference and decision making with visuo-spatial displays and tools
  • cognitive principles supporting human-visualization interaction research
  • the linkages between cognition and emotion, and how these linkages may affect map use
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