Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Exploratory Three Dimensional Cartographic Visualisation of Geolocated Datasets

posted on 2024-05-31, 00:53 authored by Bannwarth, Alexandre

While digital technologies have vastly facilitated the generation and consumption of cartographic visualisations, the majority still conform to traditional two-dimensional map making guidelines. Consequently, design principles for three-dimensional cartographic models are still in their infancy and require further exploratory research to establish a comprehensive design framework. The free availability of high resolution global digital elevation models (GDEM), such as the ASTER GDEM (NASA LP DAAC, METI, 2011), makes it possible to develop accurate three-dimensional landscape visualisations and offer more intuitive and immersive representation of spatial information. Combined with the prevalence of geolocated content in both online data-repository and social-media platforms, there exists a wealth of material to be mined, interpreted and juxtaposed in exploratory cartographic visualisations.  This thesis aims to establish a flexible and iterative procedural workflow to acquire, interpret and visualise 3D geolocated datasets, without compromising aesthetic control. Synergic with the procedural approach required for data collection and analysis, a procedural approach is used in the design of the visual output. This workflow aims to maximise automation and allow for the interpretation of a range of different data sources. The creative output of this process explores emergent cartographic principles for optimal three-dimensional spatial visualisation and investigate data presentation techniques beyond traditional two-dimensional geo-visualisation guidelines.    Informed by exploratory literature review and research through design theories, this practice-led thesis documents the iterative prototyping leading to the creation of a set of map-based infographics showcasing effective application of cartographic and data visualisation principles in a 3D geospatial context. These design prototypes and critical report of workflow refinement hope to contribute to the development of three-dimensional geographic modelling conventions.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License


Degree Discipline

Media Design

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Langelaar, Walter