John Whelan



Senior Lecturer in Digital Design, Senior Fellow HEA, Course Director BSc Digital Design

John joined Brunel University London in October 2014 from the University of Sydney (Australia) where he was teaching Information Visualisation, Creative Robotics and Interaction Design. Prior to this he was Subject Group Leader (Digital Media) and Director of Learning and Teaching (School of Arts and New Media) at the University of Hull (UK).

His Doctorate in Computer Science (Hull, UK) drew on visual perception, digital cartography and computer graphics to produce illustrative rendering of landscapes. Cartographic design and representation are still areas of interest in his work.

He has completed research and consultation projects in Digital Cartography, UX design, E-Publishing and Geo-Spatial/Temporal Visualisation. He was a non-executive director of Woodend Creative Workspace in Scarborough (UK) from 2006 – 2012 where he helped create a vibrant workspace for creative industries and graduate start-ups.


Whelan J. C., 2013, Drawing on Design, The Design Lab Seminar Series, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney

Whelan J. C., The Blue Mountains Revealed, 2013.

This exploratory visualisation project was carried out during John’s time at The University of Sydney in The Design Lab. The aim of the project was to explore interfaces and depiction methods for browsing the terrain of the Blue Mountains National Park in New South Wales, Australia. Novel combinations of relief depiction methods were applied to Geoscience Australia elevation data to produce an interactive illustrative map. The project is documented on his blog under the Blue Mountains category ( )

Non-executive director of Woodend Creative Workspace in Scarborough (UK) from 2006 – 2012.

Whelan J. C., Ishaya T. Goodman M, 2011, The Larkin Press, Principal Investigator: £30,822),Research grant investigating multi-format ePublishing. Externally funded by the Joint Information Services Committee (JISC)

Whelan J. C., 2010, Knowledge Transfer Partnership grant, June 2010,(Principal Investigator: £113,856)working on web-to-print application development with a local print firm. Externally funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB)

Whelan J. C., 2008, Invited speaker, Social Networking: Concepts and Context, October 2008, Creative Coast, Scarborough.

Successfully defended PhD Student “A Spotlight Based Interest Management Approach for Distributed Virtual Environments” Dunwell I. 2006

Whelan J. C., 2003,Drawing on Experience, Invited Research Seminar, Department of Computer Science, The University of Strathclyde.

Whelan J. C., 2006,Sketch Map of the English Lake District, Editor’s Choice - Image of the Month, In Geo: International, Volume 5 · Issue 7

Whelan J. C., 2003,Drawing on Experience, Invited Research Seminar, Department of Computer Science, The University of Strathclyde.

Research area(s)

Throughout his career John has focused on the perceptual and cognitive optimisation of the interfaces between our senses and the digital environment; this has predominantly been through data visualisation and presentation. John continues to research digital cartographic methods and explore the user experience opportunities presented through open, linked data.

John has a history of bringing contemporary, research-led content and methods to his teaching and project supervision. This bridge is an important aspect of his academic practice.



EE3616 Graphics

EE5557 Multimedia Interaction Design

EE1706 Interaction Design and Usability

EE5603 Digital Design

EE3615 Digital Experiences  


Selected Publications


Visvalingam, M.  and Whelan, J.   (2014)  Implications of Weighting Metrics for Line Generalisation with Visvalingam’s Algorithm.  Available at: 

Page last updated: Monday 27 March 2017