Influence of scale on cognition of spatial differentiation regularities of population maps

Abstract: While population maps are important tools for people to perceive the regularities of population distribution, different scales of population maps cause map readers’ cognitive difference in the regularities of spatial distribution of population. In this paper, eye movement parameters such as number of fixations, fixation duration and number of correct answers were selected in the population map cognitive experiment by eye movement tracking to test the significance of the difference, and the results were analyzed from the perspective of spatial differentiation regularities. By exploring the influence of different scales including province and county (city) on map readers’ cognition of the distribution regularities of population, it is concluded that different scales of population maps have a significant impact on readers’ perception based on the significant difference analysis. When perceiving the characteristics of spatial distribution of population and the population quantity, more details and information are provided by county (city)-scale population maps, which is beneficial to readers’ understanding of the spatial differentiation regularities of population, with less average number of fixations, shorter average fixation duration, more correct number of answers for each question and higher cognitive efficiency. The impact of scale on the cognition of the population spatial distribution and the population size was discussed. The acquired cognitive rules of the scale can be used in designing the demographic maps and shortening readers’ cognition time, which is convenient for readers to extract valid information from the demographic maps, thus to improve the map usability. Besides, through the analysis of eye movement parameters like the fixations points, fixation time and number of correct answers, as well as the significance test, quantitative researches of the scale effects on the population distribution were carried out. The perspective drawing of the fixations hotspot can be used to visualize the cognitive spatial differentiation of the readers. And the results are no longer limited to the simple qualitative expression, which is of great significance for the use of different scales of demographic maps to express population distribution characteristics and regularities. In addition to adopting the hierarchical mapping method to draw the population maps, this thesis also has conducted experiments on the readers’ cognition of the spatial distribution regularities of population with different population density maps at different scales. Since it can reflect the population distribution more precisely and more visually, the results of this research may be further improved. And in the further work, the above population map needs further studying.

To site this paper:

Zhang, W.; Zhao, S.; Zhang, D.; Dong, W. Influence of scale on cognition of spatial differentiation regularities of population maps. Journal of Geoinformation Science, 2018,20(10):1396-1402.

doi:10.12082/dqxxkx.2018.180080

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