My research is focused on geographic visualization (geovisualization) and cartography. I am especially interested in the way humans view, interpret, and interact with geographic representations and the kinds of analysis and decisions that are facilitated by geovisual methods and technologies. Specific topics I’m passionate about include map design and symbology, human-computer interaction, mobile devices, and geovisualization related to big data.

The core of my research seeks to uncover ways to make complex geographic relationships simpler, both computationally for systems and cognitively for humans. This drives my work to rely on the meaningful connections between theory and application.

Selected citations below demonstrate my research within a variety of contexts.

Stevens, J., Robinson, A.C. and A.M. MacEachren. (2013). Designing Map Symbols for Mobile
Devices: Challenges, Best Practices, and the Utilization of Skeuomorphism. Proceedings of the 26th
International Cartographic Conference. Dresden, Germany, August 25 - 30.

Stevens, J., S. Pezanowski, E. Guidero, A.C. Robinson, and A.M. MacEachren. (2012).
Map Symbol Design and Event Reporting for Mobile Devices: A Preview of a Mobile Application
and Developer API based on an Online Symbol Repository. Annual Meeting of the North American
Cartographic Information Society, Portland, OR, October 17 - 19.

Stevens, J. and K. Goldsberry. (2011). A User-centric Approach to Network Segmentation in the Design
of Traffic Maps. Proceedings, 25th ICA/ACI International Cartographic Conference, Paris, France,
July 3 - 8.

Goldsberry, Kirk, Duvall, Chris S. , Howard, Philip H. and Stevens, Joshua E. (2010). Visualizing
Nutritional Terrain: a Geospatial Analysis of Pedestrian Produce Accessibility in Lansing, Michigan,
USA, Geocarto International, 25(6), 485 - 499.


In 2014 I taught GEOG 160 - Mapping our Changing World, Penn State’s flagship introduction to geography and geospatial science. I am also the lead author of the online text used for this course:

Stevens, J., Jennifer M. Smith, and Raechel A. Bianchetti (2012). Mapping Our Changing World,
Editors: Alan M. MacEachren and Donna J. Peuquet, University Park, PA: Department of Geography,
The Pennsylvania State University.

This free and open access textbook was originally written by David DiBiase and has since been contributed to by many others.

I enjoy teaching and have also taught three different advanced GIScience and cartography labs at the 400 level. These include:

GEO 423 Map Design, Michigan State University
GEO 436 Thematic Cartography, Michigan State University
GEOG 461w Dynamic Cartographic Representation, The Pennsylvania State University

My average evaluation score is 1.3 (1 = excellent, 5 = poor).

I’m a strong proponent of skill- and tool-based training to bridge the gap between theory and practice. I’m thrilled to lead demos and workshops on the practical applications of cartography and visualization. In 2013 I led two workshops on cartographic software, once for Hacking Science and again for the Digital Humanities Interest Group at Penn State.

If you’re planning a workshop, demo, or training session related to map design and data visualization, let’s chat!