SPA512 Cartography and Data Visualisation (8)

This subject builds on a student's existing GIS abilities by introducing them to techniques for the presentation of spatial, numerical and table-based data in order to maximise their effectiveness and simplify their interpretation. Students will learn how to design visualisations of information, taking into account the problems of human perception, variations in audience type, and the media or presentation environment selected. They will be taught how to classify spatial and non-spatial, multi-dimensional, discrete and continuous data to elicit the most information from them. Dynamic methods such as animation, interactive atlases, and data exploration tools will also be addressed.The subject  has no residential school. Students completing this subject have the ability to use a range of techniques for the presentation of spatial, numerical, and table-based data.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 1 (30)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: SPA512. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Environmental Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to contextualise the history and technological development of mapping as communication and as a science
  • have advanced skills in the design appropriate visualisations for a range of spatial and non-spatial information, and for a range of delivery environments and media
  • be able to apply their specialsied skills in cartographic fundamentals and the treatment in spatial information systems, while developing graphical communication skills to supplement their oral and written skills
  • be able to effectively utilise appropriate statistical classification methods to elicit information from different types of data
  • be able to incorporate human cognitive issues in effective design of graphics
  • be able to use the World Wide Web as a source for maps and current mapping technology.


This subject will cover the following topics:

  1. Examples of both spatial and non-spatial information visualisation;
  2. The history of mapping, emphasising its role as a communication tool;
  3. Cognitive issues relating to the design of visualisations, such as human memory, colour perception, comprehension and layout;
  4. Mapping techniques for both continuous and discrete phenomena;
  5. Statistical data classification methods;
  6. The selection, design, and layout of map fundamentals considering the method of delivery and/or the medium of publication;
  7. Static and dynamic methods of representing two, three- and multi-dimensional data;
  8. Current topics in animation, data exploration and electronic atlas development.

Special Resources

Students are expected to be able to gain access for a significant amount of the session to an IBM PC or one of its many variants.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.