Role of Cartography, Design, and Visualization in Making Personal Movement Data More Accessible, Legible, Valuable

Open Access
Nelson, Jonathan
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 27, 2019
Committee Members:
  • Alan M MacEachren, Dissertation Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • Alan M MacEachren, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • Cynthia Ann Brewer, Committee Member
  • Anthony C Robinson, Committee Member
  • Burt Monroe III, Outside Member
  • personal movement data
  • visualization
  • cartography
  • data dashboards
  • UI/UX design
  • user studies
  • user centered design
  • human-computer interaction
  • culture studies
  • place
  • quantified-self (QS)
Personal data of all types, structures, and complexities are being created, collected, and analyzed at an astonishing rate. With the rise of the Quantified-Self (QS) movement and self-tracking becoming a mainstream activity, ‘personal’ has become a new dimension and challenge in the big data discussion. Traces of personal movement can play an important role in facilitating improved memory and self-awareness, as well as making our interactions in places and with others more meaningful. This opportunity, however, is constrained by the lack of research on how to design maps and other visualizations constructed from personal data and intended to benefit the data creator. This dissertation explores how the principles of cartographic representation that help to govern the processes by which data are effectively bound to semiotics, together with best practices in user-centered design, offer a promising combination of theory and application well suited for making personal data of all types and sizes more accessible, legible, and valuable.