Using visibility analysis on a transportation network to inform cartographic selection

Authors: Sterling Quinn*, Central Washington University
Topics: Cartography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Transportation Geography
Keywords: cartography, visibility, viewsheds, Washington, selection
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 43
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


How do our movement patterns on established transportation networks relate to the ways that we perceive space and depict it on maps? I address this question by using GIS to identify the landscapes most visible to motorists on the highways of Washington State. Average traffic count points were extracted from the state highway layer at regular intervals and individually fed into a viewshed tool using a Python script. The output viewsheds were weighted based on traffic counts and combined to create a layer of the most visible landscapes. I discuss how this result layer could be used as a cartographic selection guide to ensure that commonly-seen features are included in maps, and I examine whether areas invisible in popular cartography of Washington State (in other words, blank spots on the map) correspond with the areas invisible to travelers.

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