Robert E. Roth

Robert E. Roth
University of Wisconsin–Madison | UW · Department of Geography

PhD Geography

About

88
Publications
238,707
Reads
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2,290
Citations
Introduction
Research Interests: Cartography, Geovisualization, and Geovisual Analytics with emphasis on interactive cartography, UI/UX design, web mapping, spatiotemporal visualization, user-centered design & usability engineering, and map-supported human reasoning & decision making, particularly under conditions of uncertainty.
Additional affiliations
December 2016 - present
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 2011 - December 2016
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (88)
Article
Full-text available
The current pace of technological innovation in web mapping offers new opportunities and creates new challenges for web cartographers. The continual development of new technological solutions produces a fundamental tension: the more flexible and expansive web mapping options become, the more difficult it is to maintain fluency in the teaching and a...
Article
Full-text available
This article provides a review of the current state of science regarding cartographic interaction, a complement to the traditional focus within cartography on cartographic representation. Cartographic interaction is defined as the dialog between a human and map, mediated through a computing device, and is essential to the research into interactive...
Article
Full-text available
The possibility of digital interactivity requires us to reenvision the map reader as the map user, and to address the perceptual, cognitive, cultural, and practical considerations that influence the user’s experience with interactive maps and visualizations. In this article, we present an agenda for empirical research on this user and the interacti...
Book
Full-text available
In 2015, the United Nations identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (henceforth SDGs) in an effort to address, collectively, the most pressing problems facing our world. The SDGs relate to broad social, economic, and environmental challenges, and provide a framework for shared action. Each of the 17 SDGs has a set of targets and indicators to a...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, I review considerations and techniques for approaching cartographic design as visual storytelling. Stories, like maps, are a method for documenting and explaining, for meaningfully abstracting our experiences, for communicating and sharing, and for asserting a particular worldview. I argue that visual storytelling offers an entry p...
Article
Visual storytelling describes the communication of stories through illustrations, graphics, imagery, and video instead of, or in addition to, oral, written, and audio formats. Compared to their popularity and wide reach, empirical research on map-based visual stories remains limited. We work towards infilling this gap through an empirical study on...
Book
This workbook introduces the practical skills needed to develop interactive maps and visualizations on the open web. Compared to a traditional textbook, this workbook utilizes a "spiral" curriculum of short but interconnected lessons that incrementally build proficiency in interactive cartography and visualization. The technological landscape for...
Article
Interactive and web-based data visualizations are now widely adopted to make climate change information more accessible, actionable, and meaningful. Despite the rapid uptake of such climate visualization tools (CVTs), there is little research on the design considerations that underpin their efficacy in meeting needs for climate change science and c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present a set of open-source QGIS technical mapping tutorials to support instruction about cartographic design: https://github.com/uwcartlab/MappingSDGsTechnicalSupplement (Houtman & Roth 2021). The technical tutorials directly supplement the joint International Cartographic Association and United Nations publication Mapping for a Sustainable Wo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
To achieve the 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by the United Nations (UN), 169 targets and over 200 indicator datasets have been identified to monitor progress to achieve these goals worldwide. The aim of these goals is to find actionable localized solutions to wicked problems such as poverty, hunger, access to water, environme...
Article
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Mapping for a Sustainable World is a jointly-published United Nations (UN) and International Cartographic Association (ICA) open source textbook providing an introductory guide for reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the monitoring and mapping of geospatial data (Kraak et al. 2020). The UN adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustai...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Web Mapping: A Workbook for Interactive Cartography and Visualization is an online open educational resource introducing the practical skills needed to develop interactive maps and visualizations on the Open Web (Roth et al. 2020): https://github.com/uwcartlab/webmapping. The technological landscape for interactive, online, and mobile mapping and v...
Article
Transforming Justice is a collaborative project that aims to challenge the dominant narratives of policing and segregation in Milwaukee through community workshops, visual arts and storytelling, and experimental mapping. This Practices and Curations contribution describes one of the project’s collaborations, a design challenge, that aimed to create...
Article
Full-text available
Technology has transformed maps into interactive tools for exploring and understanding the world. In this article, we present the user experience (UX) design process for Flyover Country (http://flyovercountry.io), a mobile mapping application that visualizes information about the Earth’s geology and history, allowing users to save and then access t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Purpose: In this presentation, we announce a book project to map the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The book project is a collaboration between the UN Cartographic Unit, Geospatial Information Section, and the International Cartographic Association (ICA), with layout and production completed by the University of Wisconsin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Problem: Interactive or “slippy” web maps have revolutionized cartography. Slippy maps present a single, coherently-designed reference map that can be panned to numerous geographic locations and zoomed across multiple scales. Further, they apply scale-dependent style rules to detailed geographic datasets, with the resulting designs rendered as a la...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this position paper, I outline a set of open questions facing mobile first cartographic design. My opinions are preliminary and partial, and serve as a starting point for considering new design strategies for mobile map UX.
Article
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I ask in this essay: How do user-centered design studies contribute to cartography? Scholars in related fields increasingly recognize the intellectual value of employing user-centered processes to improve a single product and identify new design considerations for future products. To this end, I propose an analytical framework for organizing the co...
Preprint
Full-text available
The advancement of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies makes it possible to learn stylistic design criteria from existing maps or other visual art and transfer these styles to make new digital maps. In this paper, we propose a novel framework using AI for map style transfer applicable across multiple map scales. Specifically, we identify...
Article
Drawing on a novel dataset of hazardous waste shipments among Canada, Mexico, and the United States, we seek to enhance dominant modes of understanding transnational trading and regulation at the scale of the nation-state. We argue that these, while valuable, are limited by methodological nationalism. This epistemological position identifies the na...
Article
Full-text available
Spatial decisions increasingly are made by both professional and citizen stakeholders using interactive maps, yet few empirically-derived guidelines exist for designing interactive maps that support complex reasoning and decision making across problem contexts. We address this gap through an online map study with 122 participants with varying exper...
Article
Full-text available
Geographic information increasingly is produced and consumed on mobile devices. The rise of mobile mapping is challenging traditional design conventions in research, industry, and education, and cartographers and GIScientists now need to accommodate this mobile context. This entry introduces emerging design considerations for mobile maps. First, th...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports on the design and evaluation of Global Madison, a mobile map designed to support teaching and learning about globalization using Madison, Wisconsin, as a situated classroom. Our experience of place increasingly is mediated by mobile devices, opening new opportunities and challenges for research, industry, and education. Despite...
Article
Full-text available
This illustrated essay attempts to respond to the slow violence of the hazardous waste trade. We introduce and analyze common representational styles of hazardous waste: greenwashing, ruin porn, environmental justice toxic tours, and Ngai’s concept of the merely interesting. We argue that the first two styles tend to reproduce the status quo, but t...
Article
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The Neotoma Paleoecology Database is a community-curated data resource that supports interdisciplinary global change research by enabling broad-scale studies of taxon and community diversity, distributions, and dynamics during the large environmental changes of the past. By consolidating many kinds of data into a common repository, Neotoma lowers c...
Conference Paper
The possibility of digital interactivity requires us to reenvision the map reader as the map user, and to address the new perceptual, cognitive, cultural, and practical considerations that now influence the user's experience with interactive maps and visualizations. Here, we present an agenda for empirical research on these users and the interactiv...
Article
Full-text available
This article introduces a special issue of the International Journal of Cartography that envisions the future of cartographic research. Following a process of collaborative ideation among International Cartographic Association (ICA) commissions, their members and other allied scholars and professionals, five articles have been crafted to highlight...
Article
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Advances in personal computing and information technologies have fundamentally transformed how maps are produced and consumed, as many maps today are highly interactive and delivered online or through mobile devices. Accordingly, we need to consider interaction as a fundamental complement to representation in cartography and visualization. UI (user...
Article
Environmental justice research has used maps to make visible the spatial correlations between hazardous waste disposal sites and poor and minority communities since the 1970s. No doubt, such visual evidence of marginalized communities disproportionately burdened with noxious facilities has been an important and powerful tool for activists, regulato...
Article
Full-text available
HazMatMapper is an online and interactive geographic visualization tool designed to facilitate exploration of transnational flows of hazardous waste in North America (http://geography.wisc.edu/hazardouswaste/map/). While conventional narratives suggest that wealthier countries such as Canada and the United States (US) export waste to poorer countri...
Chapter
Full-text available
The visual variables describe the graphic dimensions across which a map or other visualization can be varied to encode information. Twelve visual variables are introduced and discussed: (1) location, (2) size, (3) shape, (4) orientation, (5) color hue, (6) color value, (7) texture, (8) color saturation, (9) arrangement, (10) crispness, (11) resolut...
Article
Full-text available
Recent shifts in web map technology away from proprietary software and toward development on the Open Web Platform have increased the number and complexity of technical skills needed to do cartography on the Web. Web-based cartography curricula likewise must be adapted to prepare geography, cartography, and GIS students with the skills needed to ma...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, I discuss my experience over the past five years restructuring the cartography curriculum at the University of Wisconsin–Madison to account for sweeping shifts in conceptual framings, mapping technologies, and professional expectations. To guide the refresh, I aligned the cartography curriculum to an orthogonal pair of axes: the trad...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we explore the potential of wireframe design and evaluation for interactive and web-based mapping through a case study on water level visualization. Specifically, our research informed design and development of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Lake Level Viewer (http://coast.noaa.gov/llv/), an interactive...
Article
Full-text available
Among the most pressing research and development challenges facing geovisual analytics is the establishment of a science of interaction to inform the design of visual interfaces to computational methods. The most promising work on interaction to date has attempted to identify and articulate the fundamental interaction primitives that define the com...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Here, we describe preliminary results from an empirical study investigating the utility of interactivity to support reasoning with uncertain information. 436 participants completed an online survey in which they viewed maps depicting a fictitious environmental health hazard, and then were asked to estimate their chance of having unsafe levels of th...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper reports on the competitive analysis of water level visualization tools that support adaptive management in response to global climate change. A competitive analysis study is a theory-based usability engineering method administered to critically compare a suite of related applications according to their relative merits, to the end of reve...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this position paper, I outline a set of challenges for human subjects research in cartography. My opinions presented here are preliminary and partial, and are drawn from notable trends in cartographic research since the 2001 ICA special issue as well as my own experience conducting both qualitative and quantitative human subjects research.
Article
Full-text available
This article reports on a semi-structured interview study with 21 geospatial professionals to provide a contemporary snapshot of expert opinion on the design and use of interactive maps and map-based systems (treated together as "cartographic interfaces"). Interview questions were based on key themes regarding interaction discussed within cartograp...
Article
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Here we present Tambopata: Who Owns Paradise?, a map-centric,multimedia website created to enrich an educational role playing exercise about biodiversity, conservation, and development in the Amazon (www.geography.wisc.edu/tambopata). The exercise assigns students a character from the Tambopata region of the Peruvian Amazon, and asks them to evalua...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we address the topic of user-centered design (UCD) for cartography, GIScience, and visual analytics. Interactive maps are ubiquitous in modern society, yet they often fail to “work” as they could or should. UCD describes the process of ensuring interface success—map-based or otherwise—by gathering input and feedback from target users...
Article
Full-text available
The following tutorial describes how to make an interactive choropleth map using the D3 (Data-Driven Documents) web mapping library (d3js.org). This tutorial is based on a laboratory assignment created in the fall of 2014 for an advanced class titled Interactive Cartography and Geovisualization at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This is the se...
Article
Full-text available
The research reported here is motivated by the now ubiquitous nature of web mapping services that provide remotely sensed imagery as a basemap option. Despite the popularity of imagery basemaps, few strategies have been suggested to enhance their readability. Here, we describe a controlled experiment leveraging the eye tracking method to explore th...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Among the most pressing research and development challenges facing geovisual analytics is the establishment of a science of interaction that will inform the design of visual interfaces to computational methods. The most promising work on interaction to date has attempted to identify and articulate the fundamental interaction primitives that define...
Article
Full-text available
Geographically-referenced faunal surveys are essential for land managers, conservation biologists, and entomologists to understand the distribution and diversity of organisms in the landscape. Further, the provision of faunal surveys through online and interactive mapping tools may generate new insights into species occurrence and location, ultimat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper reports on the competitive analysis of water level visualization tools that support adaptive management in response to global climate change. A competitive analysis study is a theory-based usability engineering method administered to critically compare a suite of related applications according to their relative merits, to the end of reve...
Article
Full-text available
This article compares the current states of science and practice regarding spatiotemporal (space + time) crime analysis within intermediate- to large-size law enforcement agencies in the Northeastern United States. The contributions of the presented research are two-fold. First, a comprehensive literature review was completed spanning the domains o...
Article
Full-text available
Maps are a primary means for supporting information sharing and collaboration in emergency management and crisis situations. While a variety of formalized map symbol standards for emergency contexts exist, they have not been widely adopted by mapmakers. Informal symbol conventions are commonly used within emergency management stakeholder groups, bu...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents two linked empirical studies focused on uncertainty visualization. The experiments are framed from two conceptual perspectives. First, a typology of uncertainty is used to delineate kinds of uncertainty matched with space, time, and attribute components of data. Second, concepts from visual semiotics are applied to characterize...
Article
Full-text available
A cartographic interaction primitive is a basic unit of interactivity that is combined with other primitives in sequence when using interactive maps. The construction of a taxonomy of these basic interaction primitives is considered the "grand challenge of interaction", as such taxonomies provide a consistent lexicon for describing map-based intera...
Article
Full-text available
Geographic information is commonly disseminated and consumed via visual representations of features and their environmental context on maps. Map design inherently involves generalizing reality, and one method by which mapmakers do so is through the use of symbols to represent features. Here we focus on the challenges associated with supporting mapm...
Article
Full-text available
This paper introduces the Basic Ordnance Observation Management System, a prototype application supporting geovisual exploration and analysis of improvised explosive device (IED) incidents. Use of IEDs by terrorist cells has increased in geographic scale, frequency, and sophistication due to the relative cheap cost of acquiring the materials and th...
Article
Full-text available
Geographic information is commonly disseminated and consumed via visual representations of features and their environmental context on maps. Map design inherently involves generalizing reality, and one method by which mapmakers do so is through the use of symbols to represent features. Here we focus on the challenges associated with supporting mapm...
Article
Full-text available
Interactive mapping and spatial analysis tools are under-utilized by health researchers and decision-makers as a result of scarce training materials, few examples demonstrating the successful use of geographic visualization, and poor mechanisms for sharing results generated by geovisualization. Here, we report on the development of the Geovisual EX...
Article
Full-text available
In this article we describe the potential utility of the card sorting method for structuring and refining large map symbol sets. Simply defined, card sorting requires that participants organize a set of items (i.e., cards) into categories according to some characteristic(s) of the cards (i.e., the sorting criterion). Card sorting has been proposed...
Article
Full-text available
The potential for and ubiquity of multiscale mapping is growing as a result of contemporary research and development efforts in digital cartography. Past work on multiscale mapping discusses use of the ScaleMaster diagram, a conceptual schematic for organizing, maintaining, and sharing the scale-dependent design specifications of a multiscale mappi...
Article
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Standardizing and coordinating information is a key challenge for supporting effective emergency management practices. Conventions can be established to ensure collaborators can find common ground quickly during an emergency, but developing such conventions remains difficult amidst continual evolution and diversification in information sources and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Here, we describe the potential utility of the card sorting method for structuring and refining map symbol sets. Card sorting has been proposed as a method for delineating categories by researchers and practitioners in a variety of disciplines due to its ability to identify and explicate real or perceived structures in an information space; however...