Eye tracking to explore the potential of enhanced imagery basemaps in web mapping

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Abstract: The research reported here is motivated by the now ubiquitous nature of web mapping services that provide remotely sensed imagery as a basemap option. Despite the popularity of imagery basemaps, few strategies have been suggested to enhance their readability. Here, we describe a controlled experiment leveraging the eye tracking method to explore the potential of enhancing remotely sensed imagery when used for cartographic presentation. Specifically, 20 participants had their eye movements recorded as they visually searched for areas of interest in either an unmodified image (such as typical in web mapping services) or enhanced image (using image processing routines common to Remote Sensing). By interpreting the eye movement fixations and saccades of participants using a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis, we found that the image enhancements improved both the effectiveness of and efficiency in identifying areas of interest, particularly those previously concealed in more visually complex areas in the image. The results from this study can be used to improve the readability of web maps that employ remotely sensed imagery as the basemap.

Cite this paper: Dong, W., Liao, H., Roth, R. E., & Wang, S. (2014). Eye tracking to explore the potential of enhanced imagery basemaps in web mapping. The Cartographic Journal, 51(4), 313-329. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1743277413Y.0000000071

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