Assessing the effectiveness of different visualizations for judgments of positional uncertainty

  • McKenzie G
  • Hegarty M
  • Barrett T
 et al. 
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Many techniques have been proposed for visualizing uncertainty in geospatial data. Previous empirical research on the effectiveness of visualizations of geospatial uncertainty has focused primarily on user intuitions rather than objective measures of performance when reasoning under uncertainty. Framed in the context of Google’s blue dot, we examined the effectiveness of four alternative visualizations for representing positional uncertainty when reasoning about self-location data. Our task presents a mobile mapping scenario in which GPS satellite location readings produce location estimates with varying levels of uncertainty. Given a known location and two smartphone estimates of that known location, participants were asked to judge which smartphone produces the better location reading, taking uncertainty into account. We produced visualizations that vary by glyph type (uniform blue circle with border vs. Gaussian fade) and visibility of a centroid dot (visible vs. not visible) to produce the four visual...

Author-supplied keywords

  • heuristics
  • human judgment
  • positioning
  • uncertainty
  • visualization

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  • Grant McKenzie

  • Mary Hegarty

  • Trevor Barrett

  • Michael Goodchild

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