Change Blindness in Animated Choropleth Maps: An Empirical Study
Authors: Fish, Carolyn; Goldsberry, Kirk P.; Battersby, Sarah
Source: Cartography and Geographic Information Science, Volume 38, Number 4, October 2011 , pp. 350-362(13)
Abstract:Animated choropleth maps enable cartographers to visualize time-series data in a way that congruently depicts change over time. However, users have difficulty apprehending information encoded within these displays, and often fail to detect important changes between adjacent scenes. Failures of visual experience, such as change blindness, threaten the effectiveness of dynamic geovisual displays, in which several important changes can occur simultaneously throughout the display. Animated choropleth maps require viewers not only to notice changes but also understand symbolic meanings encoded in rapid transitions between scenes. Graphic interpolation between key frames, also known as “in-betweening” or “tweening”, smoothes transitions and lengthens the duration of the transition between scenes in a dynamic sequence. Previous cartographic literature suggests tweening could be a potential solution for change blindness in the cartographic context. This article examines this issue of change blindness in the cartographic context and reports on a human subjects investigation designed to evaluate the influence of cartographic design variables on map readers' change detection abilities. Our results indicate that 1) map readers have difficulty detecting changes in animated choropleth maps, 2) map readers over-estimate their own change detection abilities, and 3) tweening influences the legibility of change in animated choropleth maps.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2011-10-01
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