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Visualization is a tool of data display, data synthesis and spatial thinking with the capacity to represent competing interests for debate. Methodologically, visualization techniques can be structured to facilitate collaborative and interdisciplinary research by integrating disparate areas of expertise and communicating complex sets of information with precision and clarity. Furthermore, visualization techniques can foster more productive interactions between academic, professional practice, and community engagement efforts. As a collaborative research tool, visualization provides a platform for synthesis and enables more engaged and enlightened conversations with local communities, stakeholders, and decision-makers.

This chapter displays a series of visualization techniques used in depicting Great Lakes’ shoreland dynamics and the nine scenarios established in this study. Rather than providing a step-by-step guide for how all of the visuals that accompany this study were created, this chapter provides information about the publicly-available data sources used to create these images, a description of the work flow, an explanation of the logic behind the drawing conventions, and a brief description of how your community can systematically cultivate images that convey a clear message.