Visualising Landscapes: Do Pictures Represent Theory or Data?

  • Chunglin Kwa
  • Mieke van Hemert
  • Lieuwe van der Weij
Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 96)


Aesthetic features of landscape pictures play a role in many stages of research in geography and landscape ecology. The ability to discern patterns in pictures is dependent on the availability of two Gestalts: the holistic and the fragmented landscape. The former was historically formed around the landscape painting, the latter is evident in aerial photography and pictures of landscapes on the basis of remote sensing. Gestalts are at the beginning of a road towards increasing mathematisation. But at the end of the road, the qualities of the images (usually obtained after a modeling process) do not revolve around geometric abstraction, but rather, in an opposite way, they show the unforeseen. Inspecting images for unexpected outcomes can be seen as a form of ‘de-mathematisation’.


Aerial photography Ecotope Gestalt Holism Landscape painting  Mathematisation Remote sensing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chunglin Kwa
    • 1
  • Mieke van Hemert
    • 2
  • Lieuwe van der Weij
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political SciencesUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Health and Policy StudiesSchool of Management and Governance, Science TechnologEnschedeThe Netherlands

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