DOI: 10.5593/sgem2012/s09.v2016


Wednesday 1 August 2012 by Libadmin2012

References: 12th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference, www.sgem.org, SGEM2012 Conference Proceedings/ ISSN 1314-2704, June 17-23, 2012, Vol. 2, 1041 - 1048 pp


Paper describes possibilities of the utilization of the eye-tracking technology to evaluate
user perception and cognition of maps and graphic outputs from Geographical
Information Systems.
Eye-tracking is one of the most precise and objective methods of usability studies.
The device investigates eye movements and can determine where the monitored person
looks. Eye-tracking can help to understand questions concerning user’s strategy of the
information searching.
Most of modern eye-trackers measure the eye position and gaze direction using remote
methods, which rely on the measurement of pupil and corneal reflection from a closely
situated infrared light source. The reflected light is recorded with specially designed
optical sensor. The information is then analysed to extract gaze position from changes in
Applied cartography has to follow certain rules to make the map appropriate to the
needs of map user. These rules concern the procedure of map composition creation,
legend structuring, map complexity optimization etc. The application of cartographic
rules can suffer by a considerable degree of subjectivity. Cartographers should evaluate
the maps according to user perception and cognition, due to the effort of objectification
the map creation processes.
The most frequently used methods of visualization of eye-tracking data are scanpath,
which typically evaluates the qualitative characteristics of the observed users behaviour,
and HeatMap, used for quantitative evaluation of data obtained by monitoring several
On the benefit of the cartography, it is possible to use the analysis of areas of interest
(AOI) where different parts of the map (legend, scale, title, specific phenomena in the
map, etc.) are evaluated in terms of gaze events. Outputs of these basic methods, mostly
expressed by images, are useful for primary orientation in experiment results, but for
deeper analyses, statistical approach is necessary.
Several advanced eye-tracking metrics, such as fixation duration, saccade amplitude,
saccade/fixation ratio, are used, as well as scanpath comparison, sequence chart
analyses and Space-Time-Cube visualization, to confirm the cartographic rules
hypotheses. The paper describes all mentioned methods on the example of three case
studies within the field of cartography.
Eye-tracking technology was not fully utilized in the cartography or geosciences yet.
It is clear that it will have great importance in optimization of cartographic products and
visualization of geographic data in the future.

Keywords: cartography, eye-tracking, cartographic rules, evaluation, eye movement

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