AN EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH OF EFFECTIVENESS OF TEMPORAL ANIMATED MAPS

T. Opach

University of Warsaw, Poland

topach@uw.edu.pl

 

The temporal animated maps effectiveness might be understood as their efficiency. The efficiency itself should be considered both in the context of the semantic and pragmatic aspect. In both aspects attention should be focused on those actions of authors and users of animated maps where information losses and gains may appear.

Taking into consideration the semantic aspect of communication efficiency, the temporal animated map can be considered effective when a cartographer who works it out wants to portray the phenomenon changeability. If a cartographer wants to reflect temporal states for example in order to compare them, then the animated map study is not entirely justified because the same profiles might be shown by a static map. In such circumstances the map efficiency may be called into question and the map may be considered ineffective.

Taking into consideration the pragmatic aspect, the temporal animated map may be considered effective when it is legible. It usually takes place when it possesses a rather low complexity that enables fast reading of the whole content of the map. An insignificant simplification of image and even concentration of the entire surface of the map cause that information losses during perception are not large and the communication may be considered efficient.

In order to verify theoretical consideration I conducted an experiment. It consisted of two parts: in the first one the respondents task was to draw the route of the clouds they had seen on a displayed temporal animated map and in the second part to describe the changes of speed of moving clouds.

As a measure of the respondents perception I have taken advantage of three indexes. Only in case when the index no. 2 was used (index of the distance zones) I had statistical basics to expect that the number of moving clouds on displayed animated map has an influence on perception of the map. Furthermore, for the index no. 3 I received a negative result but the test of likelihood was close to the relevance level, so the differences between tests resulting from independent variable influence were close to statistical relevance.

Of course, the research approach suggested by me is one of innumerable possible ones but it should be admitted that it is one of the firsts in which the entire methodological path was suggested and in which quantitative methods were originally used.