K. Lucjan

Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Department of Cartography, Lublin, Poland


Developments in hardware and software over the few recent decades have led to the dissemination of abilities to directly present phenomena changes. Along with the emergence of new 3D and 4D forms, the need for a theoretical framework has occurred. Although animated maps appear to be the best way to show the dynamics, it is necessary to specify if and in what circumstances they communicate the spatial information better than static maps. Despite the appearance of technologically advanced spatiotemporal data representations, the necessity of research on perception of animated maps' content remains relevant. The results of conducted experiments are variegated, which may be caused by the diversity of research procedures, such as different approaches to the interactivity issue. The majority of cartographers believe that the presence of manipulation tools is essential to handle an animated map. However, it is still controversial whether they are necessary in the animation vs. static map comparative research.

This paper suggests that the issue of control tools employment should be the consequence of the research aim and assumptions. As far as the evaluation of complex visualization systems efficiency is concerned, the use of high degree interactivity seems to be necessary. Nevertheless, comparing the effectiveness of static and animated maps, we should select manipulation tools with extreme care. The maximal comparability of both map types usage conditions is a fundamental principle of the paper, as the degree of animation interactivity should correspond to that of a static form. Then, more detailed assumptions of the experiment, such as dynamics presentation method used on static map or a medium (a paper sheet, a screen), turn to be crucial.

The question concerning dynamic phenomena methods of presentation constitutes one of the most important cartographic problems. Nowadays, as new forms are being rising, map makers are not forced to present the time on 2D maps. However, it is still advisable to examine cognitive issues of 3D and 4D presentations. In order to assure maximum efficiency of cartographic communication, all the experiments ought to be planned carefully.

The conclusions of this paper could be used in the research designing process. They can also induce one to consider other elements of experimental procedure. The subject raised in this study appears in cartographic literature occasionally. So far, no unequivocal position in the matter of research designing principles has been worked out.