A Human-Performance Based Evaluation of Topographic Maps and Map Symbols with Novice Map Users
Authors: Shurtleff, Mark; Geiselman, Edward R.
Source: Cartographic Journal, The, Volume 23, Number 1, June 1986 , pp. 52-55(4)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:Experiment 1 was designed to determine which terrain map symbols commonly used on topographic maps are viewed as most representative of their referents by novice map users. Subjects were asked to rank alternative symbols for 17 topographic map features. In addition, every subject was required to construct their own symbol for each feature.
For all but three of the features, certain symbol choices were unambiguously better than other choices. Equally desirable symbols were found to vary from being very simple to being quite complex for a number of the features. A symbology was derived from these results and was evaluated in a second human-performance based experiment. Subjects viewed both monochromatic or chromatic maps that were constructed from either the derived symbology or a control symbology consisting of geometric shapes. The subjects were asked to identify (interpret) or locate (search) specified map symbols. It was found that performance with the derived symbology was better than with the geometric symbology for both dependent measures, regardless of whether colour coding was used. Thus, the derived symbology is a promising alternative to color topographic maps, such that color coding could be used to portray important dimensions of overlaid foreground information.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1986-06-01