Thinking outside the map: Alternative approaches to data visualization

Author(s): Lauren Kohut

Year: 2017


One of the more promising applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in archaeology is the potential to incorporate aspects of human perception and experience of the landscape. Visibility analysis has been applied extensively to archaeological contexts, and models of movement, acoustics and other sensory experiences have recently received greater consideration. But despite the promise of moving beyond measurements of geographic space, most applications of experiential modeling continue to rely on standard cartographic tools for representing and analyzing relationships between archaeological phenomena. In this paper, I explore how digital technologies offer alternative (i.e. non-map-based) visualization techniques can be used to better represent and support analysis of human-scale spatial relationships. As a case study, I use regional survey of Late Intermediate Period (1000 – 1450 CE) hilltop fortifications from south-central highland Andes. Specifically, I examine alternative visualization techniques for modeling intersite relationships in terms of visual perception and travel time—rather than geographic distance. This case study contributes to broader discussions of the potential for digital technology to transform both how we represent and analyze archaeological data.

Cite this Record

Thinking outside the map: Alternative approaches to data visualization. Lauren Kohut. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431595)


andes Gis visualization

Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16578