The Role of Cartographic Interface Complexity on Spatial Decision Making: a Case Study in the North American Hazardous Waste Trade
Vincent, Kristen L.
MetadataShow full item record
Digital interactive maps are part of our everyday lives: we use them for navigation on our smartphones, they enhance stories for online news sources, and they populate our social media timelines. The public has a favorable opinion of interactive maps and prefers them for a range of problem applications. Interactivity is also essential for exploratory geographic visualization, where the purpose of the map is less for visual communication and more for visual thinking about complex problems. Therefore, interactive map design is an important area of research needing increased attention, particularly for maps that support sophisticated reasoning about geographic problems. Proper interface design is essential to ensure that the user interface does not hinder the user experience. Yet, empirical evidence for effective interactive map design is limited in the literature, particularly in a context where the interactive maps support higher-level cognitive tasks, such as comprehension, reasoning, and decision making. With this research, I investigated aspects of a problem context believed to affect map-supported decision making: the complexity of the interface and the complexity of the decision. Studying these topics contributes to the field of cartography and the related research thrusts of geovisualization, spatial decision support, and visual analytics, among others. Specifically, I sought answers to three research questions: Does cartographic interface complexity influence the success of geographic decision making? If so, how?, Does geographic decision complexity influence the success of cartographic interface effectiveness for decision making? If so, how? and Is the influence of cartographic interface complexity and geographic decision complexity dependent upon the user’s expertise with the domain topic and/or with interactive maps?
Spatial Decision Making