Michael B. Gousie

Professor of Computer Science


Phone: 508-286-3969

Website: http://cs.wheatoncollege.edu/mgousie


Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
M.S., University of New Hampshire
B.A., Providence College


Main Interests

How do you like looking at maps on the computer in 3D?  That’s what I do – take raw longitude/latitude and elevation data and turn such data into three-dimensional virtual models.  This is accomplished using a combination of computer science techniques and complex mathematical models.  Even so, the resulting surfaces will have some uncertainty.  Another area of my research involves finding ways to visualize uncertainty in particular, and multivariate data in general.

Other Interests

Basketball, skiing the steep and the deep, backpacking with my kids, traveling, and piano.


Gousie, M.B. and Lord, H. A Modified DEM for Representing Overhanging Terrain. In Proceedings of the 2023 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS ’23) (Pasadena, 2023).

Gousie, M.B. Incorporating a Makerspace into Computer Science Courses. In Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, Proceedings of the 27th Annual CCSC Northeast Conference (2023).

Gousie, M.B., Grady, J., and Branagan, M. Visualizing Trends and Clusters in Ranked Time-Series Data. In Visualization and Data Analysis 2014 (San Francisco, 2014), P. C. Wong, D.L. Kao, M.C. Hao, and C. Chen, Eds., vol. 9017, IS&T/SPIE, pp. 90710f-1 — 90710f-12.

Gousie, M.B.  The Case for 3D Visualization in DEM Assessment.  In Advances in Spatial Data Handling: Geospatial Dynamics, Geosimulation and Exploratory Visualization, S. Timpf and P. Laube, Eds., Advances in Geographic Information Science, Springer, 2013, pp. 27-43.

Gousie, M.B. and Smith, M.J. DEMView: 3D Visualization of DEM Error. In Accuracy 2010, Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on Spatial Accuracy Assessment in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (Leicester, UK, July 2010), N.J. Tate and P.F. Fisher, Eds., ISARA, pp. 165-168.

Smith, M.J., Rose, J., and Gousie, M.B. The Cookie Cutter: A Method for Obtaining a Quantitative 3D Description of Glacial Bedforms. Geomorphology 108. (July 2009), pp. 209-218.

Gousie, M.B., Grady, J., Burrage, B., Grossman, R., Machado, D., Milewski, S., and Stuetzle, C. Using Metaphors in Dynamic Social Stratification Visualizations. In IV08: 12th International Conference on Information Visualization (London, 2008), IEEE, pp. 485-490.

Gousie, M. B. and Milewski, S. A System for 3D Error Visualization and Assessment of Digital Elevation Models. In Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (Barcelona, 2007).

Gousie, M. B. A Robust Web Programming and Graphics Course for Non-Majors. In Proceedings of the 37th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education(Houston, 2006), pp. 72-76.

Gousie, M. B. Digital Elevation Model Error Detection and Visualization. In The 4th Workshop on Dynamic & Multi-dimensional GIS (Pontypridd, Wales, UK, 2005), C. Gold, Ed, ISPRS, pp. 42-46.

For full list, see my web page.

Teaching Interests

Bringing new tools and techniques into the classroom, such as LEGO robots, games, 3D printing, laser cutting, and more, especially to enhance students’ algorithm design skills. In many courses, I try to show the interdisciplinary nature of computer science by bringing in problems from areas outside traditional topics.

Student Projects

Hannah Lord ’22 worked on updating the standard 3D terrain format to incorporate overhanging structures, such as natural arches, caves, and cliff protrusions. She then wrote a program that used computer graphics techniques to visualize the terrain modeled in the new format. Her work was presented on the poster “Editing DEM Files to Represent Overhanging Structures and Arches” at the 26th Annual Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Northeast Conference in April, 2022.

Eammon Littler, Jacob Loberti, and Matthew LeBlanc, all from the class of 2020, worked on a project to create 3D models of art objects in Wheaton’s African Collection.  Once the models were created, they can be viewed in three-dimensions on a web site as well as through the use of virtual reality (VR) equipment.  Their poster, “3D Modeling to Virtual Viewing: Providing Access to Wheaton’s African Collection,” was presented at the 23rd Annual Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Northeast Conference in April, 2018.

Grace Ulinski ’16 and Zevi Rubin ’16 rebuilt Melissa’s work (below) using newer web technologies.  They presented the poster, “Information Visualization: Top Ten Rankings over Time,” at the 20th Annual Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Northeast Conference in April, 2016.

Melissa Branagan ’14 worked on a new system for visualizing ranking data over many years.  This is interdisciplinary work that can benefit any researcher looking for trends in such data, from the yearly top ten actors to baseball batting averages. This work led to: “Visualizing the Hollywood Pantheon,” presented by John Grady at the Conference of the International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) at the University of London in July, 2013.

Kelsey Hichens ’13 developed a working compiler for her own programming language called KLC.

Nick Faulconer ’12 wrote a Senior Thesis entitled Design and Comparison of Parallel Ray-Tracing Algorithms.  This work combines computer graphics and the evermore important parallel processing.  This is technology used in creating CGI in movies. Nick currently works for Meditech.

Raleigh Upshur ’10 implemented a virtual “magnifying glass” in a three-dimensional topographic surface viewer. This work will be incorporated into a larger system that helps researchers identify problem areas in digital maps. Raleigh presented his work in a poster at the April 2010 meeting of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges.

A group of students who graduated in ’07 implemented two systems in their Senior Seminar course to visualize social stratification data. My colleague and collaborator John Grady of Wheaton’s Sociology Department uses these systems to analyze data from the Census Bureau. This work was presented at the International Conference on Information Visualization in London in July of 2008 (see below).

Sarah Milewski ’07 helped to implement a DEM error visualization system. She worked on the graphical user interface (GUI) as well as some of the visualization code. The work resulted in a paper that was presented at the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium in Barcelona in the summer of ’07. The paper was published in the conference proceedings (see below).  She currently works for Raytheon.

Chris Stuetzle ’07 completed an Honor’s Thesis entitled Computer Modeling and Visualization of Luminescent Crystals: The Role of Energy Transfer and Upconversion. He also presented a poster on the work at the Spring Meeting of the New England Section of the American Physical Society, Orono, ME, April 2007. John Collins of the Physics Department was co-advisor for this work. Chris finished his PhD in 2012 and is now at Merrimack College.

A student created a web-based visualization tool for analyzing census data. This work was presented at the 2004 International Visual Sociology Association conference in San Francisco by my collaborator, John Grady.

Research Interests

  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Data Visualization
  • Computer Graphics
  • Computational Geometry

My main research area is in working with digital maps, in the form of Digital Elevation Models (DEMs).  This is one kind of data that is used in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), as well as Google Maps and the like, to view terrain in 3D. Current work focuses on compressing such elevation data sets for faster retrieval over the Internet.  Previous work focused on three-dimensional visualization of errors in such maps and in creating DEMs from two-dimensional sources. All of this work is interdisciplinary with the earth-sciences community.

In addition, I am currently working on visualization techniques for investigating various data sets, from diverse domains such as US census data to annual top ten actors/actresses (1929-present) to numbers of COVID deaths in US states.


Computer Science


Diana Davis Spencer Discovery Center 1325