Cartography and GIScience
Geographic Information Science (GIScience) addresses the fundamental issues surrounding the use of digital technology to help people work with geographic information. GIScience is a field devoted to the acquisition, management, analysis, visualization, and representation of geospatial data. It is relatively new discipline that incorporates geography, cartography, spatial analysis, and related fields such as geovisualization, geodesy, geocomputation, cognition, and computer science. As an academic discipline, GIScience is concerned with both theoretical and applied issues relating to the creation, analysis, and visualization of spatial-temporal information, and it is inherently interdisciplinary in both its methods and applications. Here at UW-Madison, we are committed to the integration of GIScience with substantive geographic questions.
For the past 40 years, UW-Madison has enjoyed a world-class reputation in cartography, and more recently, in GIScience. We are one of only a handful of departments offering both a BS and MS in GIScience, as well as a very successful one-year Certificate Program in GIS.
Our well-established program is being expanded as new courses are introduced, including advanced classes in geocomputation and Web-based cartography. Most of our graduate students develop "dual proficiencies", that is, on one hand, they develop a high proficiency in technical fields (such as geographic information sciences, statistics, and computer science) which allows them to conduct comprehensive spatial analysis using modern information technology; on the other hand, they develop a strong background in disciplines related to the natural resource field (such as forestry, soils, water resources, and ecology) which allows them to apply the spatial analytical techniques effectively. Rapid technological change makes teaching GIScience a daunting prospect. We strive to help students develop both the applied skills necessary for today's digital world and a theoretical understanding of issues in GIScience so they can cope with future developments. While software may change, the fundamentals do not.
Jim Burt is interested in digital terrain analysis, visualization, and numerical modeling. He is particularly interested in methods for encoding process-driven landscape analysis. He teaches introductory and advanced courses in physical geography, statistical methods, and geocomputation.
Rob Roth focuses on the topics of Cartography, Geovisualization, and Geovisual Analytics with specific emphasis on interactive & web-based cartography, human-computer (and human-map) interaction, user-centered design & usability engineering, and map-supported human reasoning & decision-making, particularly under conditions of uncertainty.
A-Xing Zhu is interested in the development of modern spatial information processing techniques (such as GIS/remote sensing, artificial intelligence techniques, and fuzzy logic concepts), and the application of these techniques in natural resource management and environmental modeling. He currently teaches courses in GIS and physical geography. His teaching focus has been on the integration of modern spatial information processing technology and natural resource disciplines.