Can a Map Save City Shops? Applications of Data Visualization to Represent the Material and Immaterial Urban Survey

  • Chiara VernizziEmail author
  • Donatella Bontempi
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 1140)


From the origins of civilization it is known that a picture is worth thousands words. However, the scientific study of visual communication applied to the data visualization represented on the territorial extension is a relatively recent field of research, dating back to the late 1800s, long after the first golden age of statistical graphics. The paper presents a case study in the city of Parma and it assumes that a thematic map can be more effective than a chart diagram in displaying the territorial distribution of the answers of a census of the commercial units of the city, realized with the collaboration of the shopkeepers. The translation of percentages and graphs in a thematic cartography, through the ultimate open-source tools of interactive mapping and live geolocation of the information, allows an immediate and intuitive visualization and a field control in real time. Even more, it underlines the spatial connections and the critical points and potentialities for those who must make decisions regarding the future of the commercial sector in a historical moment of serious crisis and rapid transformations.


Urban survey Immaterial survey Infographic Data visualization Geolocation Interactive mapping 



The research presented in the paper is part of the agreement between ASCOM Parma and the Department of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Parma for the data collection for a Commerce Observatory. Scientific responsibility for DIA prof. Paolo Giandebiaggi. Chiara Vernizzi is scientific coordinator of research for DIA. Donatella Bontempi prepared the survey sheets and coordinated the work of the students of the architecture survey course in A.A. 2016/17 and 2017/18, she elaborated the database and the graphic representations.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Engineering and Architecture (DIA)University of ParmaParmaItaly

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