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In many parts of the world, motorized travel is one of the most common ways that people interact with their regional landscape. This study investigates how travelers' understandings of place might be influenced by what landforms they can see from a vehicle. It uses a cumulative viewshed analysis on the Washington State (United States) highway network to determine which physical landscape features are most frequently visible or obscured from the road. Adapting ideas from Kevin Lynch's The Image of the City, I propose spatial data processing methods to derive landmarks, edges, and districts that could most contribute to the mental maps of travelers and should be prioritized for labeling on print, electronic, and augmented reality maps. Other applications of the cumulative viewshed include deriving scenic byways, siting proposed construction for high or low visibility, and guiding conversations about critical toponymy and perceptions of place.
Quinn, S. D. (2022). What can we see from the road? Applications of a cumulative viewshed analysis on a US state highway network. Geographica Helvetica, 77(2), 165–178. https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-77-165-2022
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