Flow-data analysis with geographical information systems: a visual approach
This paper takes a visual approach to flow-data analysis within geographical information systems, and uses spatial interaction data from the United Kingdom for illustrative purposes. As a subfield within GIS, flow mapping is something of a disciplinary laggard, despite significant advances elsewhere in the field. Therefore, the paper has three main aims. First, the intention is to show how complex spatial interaction data—frequently underutilised—can be converted into meaningful information using a GIS-based, visual approach. Second, it is hoped that the contribution will help popularise the subject and stimulate new research within spatial interaction studies and planning more broadly. The third aspect is to demonstrate that we can gain a better understanding, and knowledge of, complex spatial networks through a visual analytics approach to information generation. The paper begins by exploring some key developments in the presentation of flow data. The main body of the paper is comprised of five key geovisualisations which focus on identifying the various patterns of spatial interaction in the United Kingdom. Finally, some conclusions are drawn and direction for future development are highlighted.
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