Visual Analytics by using Web GIS Tools in Transportation Decision Making

Subasish Das

Associate Transportation Researcher

Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)

January 9, 2017


  • What is GIS?
  • Tools
    • Graphical User Interface (GUI) Centric
    • Command Line Interface (CLI) Centric
  • WebGIS and Transportation
  • What's next?

What is GIS?

  • It's basically a computer aided cartographic tool.
  • It helps to wrangle, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced information.

How does it work?

  • Aims to represent the complex geospatial reality
  • Utilizes 'layer' approach
  • Two types of data:
    • Raster
    • Vector

Data Layers


Tools of the Trade

  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) Centric
    • ArcGIS [Desktop]
    • QGIS [Desktop]
    • Grass GIS [Desktop]
    • Mapbox Studio Classic [Desktop]
  • Command Line Interface (CLI) Centric
    • ArcGIS [ArcPy, r-bridge]
    • CartoDB
    • Mapbox Studio
    • R [ggmap, choroplethr, leafletr, rMaps]
    • javascript [Mapbox.js, CartoDB.js, leaflet.js]

John Snow's Map

WebGIS in Transportation

  • GIS is a widely used tool in transportation engineering
  • WebGIS makes visualization more dynamic and real-time
  • Transforming data from a macro level to micro level
  • WebGIS in Transportation is becoming popular.

Motorcycle Fatalities in the U.S. [2013]

Inclement Weather Crashes in Florida

Fatal Crashes in the U.S. (2014)

Fatal Crashes in the U.S. (2014)

Fatal Crashes in the U.S. (2014)

January 2016 Blizzard

What's next?

  • We are now in the world of internet of things.
  • GIS is changing everyday and so is transportation world.
  • CLI centric tools are become more popular due to their crispy look and html previleges.
  • Proprietary commercial software ArcGIS is adopting newer tools to continue business in the market.
  • GIS needs to keep pace with NEOGEOGRAPHY (use of geographical techniques and tools for personal and community activities or by a non-expert group of users).