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Usability evaluation of centered time cartograms

By Ullah Rehmat, Mengistu Eskedar Zelalem, van Elzakker C.P.J.M. and Kraak Menno-Jan

Abstract

A time cartogram visualizes travelling-times between locations. It replaces the geographic distance by time distance and distorts the underlyingmap accordingly. By distorting themap, time cartogramsmay give a more intuitive and clear picture of travelling-times. The distortion of the map, however, can make time cartograms harder to recognize and use. Although cartograms are becoming widespread in use, very little is known about their usability. This study focuses on the usability of centered time cartograms: time cartograms that visualize travellingtimes from a fixed starting location to other destinations in a region. We created several centered time cartograms to answer spatio-temporal questions related to the Dutch railway network. Two experiments were performed: a laboratory test and an online survey. In the laboratory test, we used eye-tracking, thinking aloud, and video-recording to compare four different designs of centered time cartograms to find out which one (or combination) of these performs better in answering spatiotemporal questions and thus, to establish a favorable design strategy for these cartograms. In the online survey, centered time cartograms were evaluated against a geographic and schematic map for accuracy, response time, and preference. The first experiment suggested that among various designs, the centered time cartogram with emphasized railroads is the most preferred design and the centered time cartogram without railroads is the least preferred. The second experiment indicated that overall, centered time cartograms perform better than the two other solutions in performing spatio-temporal tasks, particularly when the task has a dominant time-related component

Topics: centered time cartograms, usability, Dutch railway network, Geology, QE1-996.5
Publisher: De Gruyter Open
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.1515/geo-2016-0035
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:5f0ee461763246e79358bba2ad23a319
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