Skills Earth Sciences


This resource module is intended to help provide background knowledge and theory on visualisation within academia, and Earth Science in particular.

Data visualisation is a key aspect of research and science communication. In general, practice with data visualisation is often learn-as-you-go, and as such specific techniques and good form are learned case by case. There are many valuable resources available on this topic such as textbooks, peer-reviewed studies, and academic feedback, a selection of which have been compiled here. The topics covered in this module range from vocabulary and theory, to determining which figures to use, to specific figure formats. Únderstanding scientific visualisation will give you some background on specific vocabulary and visualisation techniques in Earth Science. While Figure types covers theory on the main figure types found in Earth Sciences, the chapters Creating figures and General tips for implementing figures will give you more practical information on the process of creating figures themselves. Use this guide to explore the topics you’re interested in focusing on but note that much of the theory can be widely applied. Understanding how to best visualise using one format can provide insights on how to visualise others.

A separate guide for making posters and infographics was made by Elisabeth Addink and Tessa Deggeler for Utrecht University students and can be downloaded in full here as PDF, together with a rubric for infographics and posters. All information in this chapter regarding posters and infographics originates from this guide. If you are looking for guidelines specifically for posters or infographics, we recommend consulting chapter 3 in this guide.

Each chapter will start by listing the learning outcomes for that chapter. Do they correspond to those you set for yourself? Read through the sections and review at the end of each chapter whether you have achieved the outcomes predicted at the beginning. If not, check out the references of subjects you would like to learn more about or go back to the parts you have not yet mastered and see what you can do to improve.

You can access the different chapters of the visualisation module in the left menu. If you click on a specific chapter, a list of of specific subchapters appears. If you prefer a pdf-version of the module, you can download it here. A separate guide for making posters and infographics can be downloaded in here, together with a rubric for infographics and posters. Another useful document is the declaration of consent to the use of photos, video and audio.