MAPVisLab is a recently created visualization and spatial analysis lab, funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and hosted at the Marine Affairs Program (MAP) at Dalhousie University.

The lab’s main goal is to explore novel ways to visualize, understand and analyze land, coastal and marine data, information and knowledge through a combination of geographic information systems, participatory mapping, multimedia tools, and cartography. The lab has the technical and research capacity to conceptualize, design and produce visualizations of different nature, from regular cartography and web mapping to 3D printing, aerial mapping (e.g. drone imagery) and augmented and virtual reality

The underlying assumption of the lab’s research is that visualizations are among the most effective cross-cultural and cross-sectoral knowledge mobilization and knowledge synthesizers artifacts, and that they are particularly effective when documenting and representing both scientific and indigenous and local knowledge.

MAPVisLab has the capacity to undertake data analysis and visualizations of the following:

  • Marine and coastal scientific data (e.g. spatial modeling)
  • Environmental or development scenarios (e.g. Environmental Impact Assessments; Land and Marine Spatial Planning)
  • Environmental or development assessments (e.g. coastal restoration)
  • People’s interactions with their places and environments (e.g. community-based participatory mapping)

MAPVisLab uses an array of cutting-edge technologies and techniques to create analyses and visualizations of different nature:

  • Two-dimensional (e.g. land use and traditional knowledge maps; conventional GIS modeling)
  • Three-dimensional (e.g. physical and digital 3D maps; aerial imagery)
  • Multi-dimensional (e.g. virtual reality and augmented reality assessments and projections of land use, climate change, etc.)

MAPVisLab considers technology as a means to an end, and its philosophy is to enhance our understanding of environmental changes and of people’s interactions with their environments. The lab’s objectives are to: 1) generate and support research, 2) enhance educational and knowledge mobilization experiences; and 3) support organizations and institutions in need of exploring and developing both new and well-established ways of communicating and analyzing their data and results.