Usability evaluation of centered time cartograms

Open Geosciences. 2016;8(1):337-359 DOI 10.1515/geo-2016-0035

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Open Geosciences

ISSN: 2391-5447 (Online)

Publisher: De Gruyter

LCC Subject Category: Science: Geology

Country of publisher: Poland

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF

 

AUTHORS

Ullah Rehmat (Department of Geo-Information Processing, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE, Enschede, the Netherlands)
Mengistu Eskedar Zelalem (Department of Geo-Information Processing, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE, Enschede, the Netherlands)
van Elzakker C.P.J.M. (Department of Geo-Information Processing, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE, Enschede, the Netherlands)
Kraak Menno-Jan (Department of Geo-Information Processing, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE, Enschede, the Netherlands)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 15 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

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.