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Geographic Analysis in Context: A Visual Search Task Comparing Zooming Metaphors

by Ryan S Mullins

Published October 15, 2015 in Research

Geospatial analysts are seeking more immersive, context-aware interactions with data that emulate the experience of past analytic processes (e.g. light table and magnifier). We present the results from a pilot study, assessing the usability and utility of interactive zoom windows that were designed to emulate and extend the functionality of a tradition Loupe magnification lens in the digital environment. Twelve participants used two styles of zoom windows and a traditional slippy-map interface to identify, classify, and mark the location of buildings that were either damaged or destroyed during the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Results show that zoom window interfaces perform at the same level as slippy-map interfaces in this simple task, with a single user on a small touch-enabled screen. Future work with these interfaces will evaluate their performance in complex and team tasks.

Presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the North American Cartographic Information Society