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Evaluating the usability of visualization methods in an exploratory geovisualization environment

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The use of new representation forms and interactive means to visualize geospatial data requires an understanding of the impact of the visual tools used for data exploration and knowledge construction. Use and usability assessment of implemented methods and tools is an important part of our efforts to build this understanding. Based on an approach to combine visual and computational methods for knowledge discovery in large geospatial data, an integrated visualization‐geocomputation environment has been developed based on the Self‐Organizing Map (SOM), the map and the parallel coordinate plot. This environment allows patterns and attribute relationships to be explored. A use and usability assessment is conducted to evaluate the ability of each of these visual representations to meet user performance and satisfaction goals. In the test, different representations are compared while exploring a socio‐demographic dataset.

Keywords: Geovisualization; Self‐organizing map; Usability; Visual exploration

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: International Institute for Geo‐Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), PO Box 6, 7500 AA Enschede, The Netherlands 2: GeoVISTA Center, Department of Geography, Penn State University, 302 Walker, University Park, PA 16802, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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