Assessing Similarities and Differences between Males and Females in Visual Behaviors in Spatial Orientation Tasks

Abstract: Spatial orientation is an important task in human wayfinding. Existing research indicates sex‐related similarities and differences in performance and strategies when executing spatial orientation behaviors, but few studies have investigated the similarities and differences in visual behaviors between males and females. To address this research gap, we explored visual behavior similarities and differences between males and females using an eye‐tracking method. We recruited 40 participants to perform spatial orientation tasks in a desktop environment and recorded their eye‐tracking data during these tasks. The results indicate that there are no significant differences between sexes in efficiency and accuracy of spatial orientation. In terms of visual behaviors, we found that males fixated significantly longer than females on roads. Males and females had similar fixation counts in building, signpost, map, and other objects. Males and females performed similarly in fixation duration for all five classes. Moreover, fixation duration was well fitted to an exponential function for both males and females. The base of the exponential function fitted by males’ fixation duration was significantly lower than that of females, and the coefficient difference of exponential function was not found. Females were more effective in switching from maps to signposts, but differences of switches from map to other classes were not found. The newfound similarities and differences between males and females in visual behavior may aid in the design of better human centered outdoor navigation applications.

To cite this paper:

Dong, W.; Zhan, Z.; Liao, H.; Meng, L.; Liu, J. Assessing Similarities and Differences between Males and Females in Visual Behaviors in Spatial Orientation Tasks. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 20209, 115.

Differences in the Gaze Behaviours of Pedestrians Navigating between Regular and Irregular Road Patterns

Abstract:While a road pattern influences wayfinding and navigation, its influence on the gaze behaviours of navigating pedestrians is not well documented. In this study, we compared gaze behaviour differences between regular and irregular road patterns using eye-tracking technology. Twenty-one participants performed orientation (ORI) and shortest route selection (SRS) tasks with both road patterns. We used accuracy of answers and response time to estimate overall performance and time to first fixation duration, average fixation duration, fixation count and fixation duration to estimate gaze behaviour. The results showed that participants performed better with better accuracy of answers using irregular road patterns. For both tasks and both road patterns, the Label areas of interest (AOIs) (including shops and signs) received quicker or greater attention. The road patterns influenced gaze behaviour for both Road AOIs and Label AOIs but exhibited a greater influence on Road AOIs in both tasks. In summary, for orientation and route selection, users are more likely to rely on labels, and roads with irregular patterns are important. These findings may serve as the anchor point for determining how people’s gaze behaviours differ depending on road pattern and indicate that labels and unique road patterns should be highlighted for better wayfinding and navigation.

To site this paper:

Liu, B.; Dong, W.; Zhan, Z.; Wang, S.; Meng, L. Differences in the Gaze Behaviours of Pedestrians Navigating between Regular and Irregular Road Patterns. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 20209, 45.


Comparing the roles of landmark visual salience and semantic salience in visual guidance during indoor wayfinding



Abstract:Landmark visual salience (characterized by features that contrast with their surroundings and visual peculiarities) and semantic salience (characterized by features with unusual or important meaning and content in the environment) are two important factors that affect an individual’s visual attention during wayfinding. However, empirical evidence regarding which factor dominates visual guidance during indoor wayfinding is rare, especially in real-world environments. In this study, we assumed that semantic salience dominates the guidance of visual attention, which means that semantic salience will correlate with participants’ fixations more significantly than visual salience. Notably, in previous studies, semantic salience was shown to guide visual attention in static images or familiar scenes in a laboratory environment. To validate this assumption, first, we collected the eyemovement data of 22 participants as they found their way through a building. We then computed the landmark visual and semantic salience using computer vision models and questionnaires, respectively. Finally, we conducted correlation tests to verify our assumption. The results failed to validate our assumption and show that the role of salience in visual guidance in a real-world wayfinding process is different from the role of salience in perceiving static images or scenes in a laboratory. Visual salience dominates visual attention during indoor wayfinding, but the roles of salience in visual guidance are mixed across different landmark classes and tasks. The results provide new evidence for understanding how pedestrians visually interpret landmark information during real-world indoor wayfinding.

To site this paper:

Weihua Dong, Tong Qin, Hua Liao, Yu Liu & Jiping Liu (2019) Comparing the roles of landmark visual salience and semantic salience in visual guidance during indoor wayfinding, Cartography and Geographic Information Science.

 DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2019.1697965



地图是人类日常生活中不可或缺的工具。地图认知作为研究人对地图的感知、学习、记忆、推理和决策的科学,一直以来是地图学基础理论的重要内容。作为地图认知研究的核心,近年来地图视觉认知在相关学科(如心理学、认知科学和计算机视觉)和新的研究手段(如眼动跟踪、脑电和核磁)的促进下取得了一系列新的研究成果。尤其是眼动跟踪方法作为地图视觉认知研究的重要手段之一,越来越受到研究者的关注,为地图视觉认知研究的定量化、实用化提供了有力支撑。本文系统地梳理了2008年以来眼动跟踪方法在地图视觉认知研究中取得的新进展,并将其归纳为6个发展趋势,分别包括:① 刺激材料:从静态地图到动态交互地图;② 研究范围:从地图认知到地图空间认知;③ 实验环境:从实验室环境到真实环境;④ 地图维度:从二维地图到三维地图;⑤ 个体差异:从单一维度到多维度;⑥ 研究目的:从规律探究到实践应用。本文最后总结了未来研究面临的挑战、难点和可能的解决方法,期望能在地图视觉认知研究中起到抛砖引玉的作用。


 董卫华, 廖华, 詹智成, 刘兵, 王圣凯, 杨天宇. 2008年以来地图学眼动与视觉认知研究新进展[J]. 地理学报, 2019, 74(3): 599-614.

Weihua DONG, Hua LIAO, Zhicheng ZHAN, Bing LIU, Shengkai WANG, Tianyu YANG. New research progress of eye tracking-based map cognition in cartography since 2008[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2019, 74(3): 599-614.






杨斯棋,邢潇月,董卫华,李帅朋,詹智成,王全意,杨鹏,张奕. 北京市甲型H1N1流感对气象因子的时空响应[J]. 地理学报, 2018, 73(3): 460-473.

YANG Siqi,XING Xiaoyue,DONG Weihua,LI Shuaipeng,ZHAN Zhicheng,WANG Quanyi,YANG Peng,ZHANG Yi. The spatio-temporal response of influenza A (H1N1) to meteorological factors in Beijing[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2018, 73(3): 460-473.


Real-time forecasting of hand-foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks using the integrating compartment model and assimilation filtering

Abstract: Hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) is a highly contagious viral infection, and real-time predicting of HFMD outbreaks will facilitate the timely implementation of appropriate control measures. By integrating a susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered (SEIR) model and an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) assimilation method, we developed an integrated compartment model and assimilation filtering forecast model for real-time forecasting of HFMD. When applied to HFMD outbreak data collected for 2008–11 in Beijing, China, our model successfully predicted the peak week of an outbreak three weeks before the actual arrival of the peak, with a predicted maximum infection rate of 85% or greater than the observed rate. Moreover, dominant virus types enterovirus 71 (EV-71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CV-A16) may account for the different patterns of HFMD transmission and recovery observed. The results of this study can be used to inform agencies responsible for public health management of tailored strategies for disease control efforts during HFMD outbreak seasons.

To site this paper:

Zhan, Z.; Dong, W.; Lu, Y.; Yang, P.; Wang, Q.; Jia, P. Real-time forecasting of hand-foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks using the integrating compartment model and assimilation filtering. Scientific Reports 2019, 9, 2661.


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.


Using eye tracking to explore the impacts of geography courses on map-based spatial ability

Abstract: As part of geography education, geography courses play an important role in the development of spatial ability. However, how geography courses affect map-based spatial ability has not been well documented. In this study, we use an eye-tracking method to explore the impact of geography courses on map-based spatial ability. We recruited 55 undergraduates from Beijing Normal University (BNU) to attend the map-based spatial ability test before and after six-month geography courses arranged by the Faculty of Geographical Science, BNU. The results show that the participants’ map-based spatial ability significantly improved after taking the geography courses; specifically, accuracy increased by 22.3% and response time decreased by 14.7% after training. We analysed two types of eye-movement behaviour; in terms of processing measures, the fixation duration of the topographic map decreased by 18.4% and the fixation distribution was more concentrated after training, and in terms of matching measures, participants have more switch times per second for both photographed scenes and topographic maps. Switch times between options decreased by 48.2%, which is a notable decrease. These empirical results are helpful for the design of geography courses that improve map-based spatial ability.

To site this paper:

Dong, W.; Ying, Q.; Yang, Y.; Tang, S.; Zhan, Z.;  Liu, B.; Meng, L. Using Eye Tracking to Explore the Impacts of Geography Courses on Map-based Spatial Ability. Sustainability 201911(1), 76.


User Experience Design for Mobile Cartography: Setting the Agenda

Beijing, China | July 11 & 12, 2019

Position Paper Deadline: 1 February 2019



The ICA Commissions on Cognition, LBS, VA, and Use are pleased to announce a joint workshop to outline a research agenda on Mobile Map UX. Since their first description in the cartographic literature (Zipf 2002, Reichenbacher 2001, 2004, Meng et al. 2005, Gartner et al. 2007), interactive mapping applications drawing on location-based services and mobile technologies have fundamentally transformed the way that people experience place. Accordingly, established tenets of cartography need to be reexamined and updated for the mobile platform. Further, new cartographic design strategies are needed for mobile maps to ensure a productive and satisfying user experience (UX).

Energy is surging around mobile in cartography and related fields (Huang et al. 2018), with extant research covering egocentric design (van Elzakker et al. 2009), mobile icon designs (Stevens et al. 2013), adaptive and responsive designs (Griffin et al. 2017), context-awareness (Huang 2016), situated learning (Roth et al. 2018), citizen science (Haklay 2013), and mobile design ethics (Wilson 2012, Ricker et al. 2014). Recent work also includes new educational materials on mobile cartography for classroom instruction (e.g., Muehlenhaus 2013; Huang & Gao 2018; Ricker & Roth 2018).

Position Papers

This workshop builds upon the successful ICA joint workshops and special issues on Big Challenges in Interactive Cartography and Location Based Services to develop a research agenda for Mobile Map UX. To this end, we solicit 2-page position papers proposing emerging issues and pressing needs regarding Mobile Map UX. We encourage position statements from multiple sectors, including academia, industry, and government. Considerations, opportunities, and challenges of mobile map UX for discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • New Data Services: New geotagged big data streams and context-aware services building upon these streams.
  • New Technology: New mobile hardware (e.g., smartphones, UAVs, augmented reality, web environment), critical mobile infrastructure (and design constraints therein), and emerging mobile use cases (e.g., in-flight, autonomous vehicles and interfaces thereof).
  • New Map Designs: Novel map representations, emerging perceptual and cognitive considerations, and adaptive and responsive map designs across devices.
  • New Map Interfaces: New interface designs, including natural metaphors, augmented-/avatar-based interactions, and operator functionality.
  • New Analytical Methods: New approaches for scalable spatial analysis that are designed to support mobile mapping.
  • New Evaluation Methodologies: New methods and tools designed for or applied to studying mobile user experiences.
  • Broader Impacts: New forms of scholarly and citizen participation in science, education, and policy, as well as ethical considerations for the design and use of mobile maps.


The workshop will cross two days, the first focused on student engagement and establishing common ground on topics related to Mobile Map UX and the second on developing a working research agenda for Mobile Map UX (capped registration).

Day #2 papers should be 2-pages and focus on “big problems”, or key research challenges and opportunities, related to the dimensions of Mobile Map UX listed above. Please submit your 2-page white paper in the CHI Archive Format. Please use positions papers from the 2015 workshop as examples for reference (available for download the bottom of the page). Position papers will be peer-reviewed by the organizing committee based on intellectual merit, scope and timeliness, and engagement with new literature and technology.

July 11: Overview & Training Workshops (recorded/targeted towards students)

  • 8:30-9:00: Arrival, Coffee
  • 9:00-10:30: User Experience Design (Robert Roth)
  • 10:30-11:00: Break
  • 11:00-12:30: Location-based Services (Haosheng Huang)
  • 12:30-14:00: Lunch
  • 14:00-15:30: Mobile Map Design (Britta Ricker)
  • 15:30-16:00: Break
  • 16:00-17:00: Discussion & Day #2 Planning
  • 18:00: Dinner

July 12: Lightning Talks and Research Agenda

  • 8:30-9:00: Arrival, Coffee
  • 9:00-10:00: Lightning Talks I
  • 10:00-10:30: Discussion
  • 10:30-11:00: Break
  • 11:00-12:00: Lightning Talks II
  • 12:00-12:30: Discussion
  • 12:30-14:00: Lunch / Commission Meetings
  • 14:00-15:00: RA Formulation/Organization
  • 15:00-16:30: Breakout
  • 16:30-17:00: Wrap-up and Next Steps
  • 18:00: Dinner


The Beijing Normal University (BNU) Faculty of Geography was founded in 1910 and is one of the premier institutions for cartography and mapping sciences in China. BNU is located between the 2nd and 3rd city rings and is within 2km of multiple metro lines. BNU has graciously offered to provide space and coffee, as well as assistance with visas. Lodging is available on campus at the Jingshi Hotel, with additional options off campus within walking distance. The local organizers have arranged a block of rooms at a discount rate. Please email  Mr. YANG Tianyu ( for your reservation, naming the workshop as your reason for the visit.


  • 15 November 2018: Announcement Posted
  • 1 February 2019: Deadline for 2-page Position Papers (sent to
  • 1 March 2019: Notification of Accepted Papers & Preliminary Schedule; Registration Opens
  • 1 June 2019: Deadline to Register (no cost)


  • Gartner, G., D.A. Bennett, and T. Morita. 2007. Towards ubiquitous cartography. Cartography and Geographic Information Science 34 (4): 247-257.
  • Griffin, A.L., T. White, C. Fish, B. Tomio, H. Huang, C.R. Sluter, J.V.M. Bravo, S.I. Fabrikant, S. Bleisch, M. Yamada, and P. Picanço. 2017. Designing across map use contexts: A research agenda. International Journal of Cartography, 3(Sup1), 61-89.
  • Haklay M. 2013. Citizen Science and Volunteered Geographic Information: Overview and Typology of Participation. In: Sui D., Elwood S., Goodchild M. (eds) Crowdsourcing Geographic Knowledge. Springer, Dordrecht.
  • Huang, H. 2016. Context-Aware Location Recommendation Using Geotagged Photos in Social Media. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 5(11): 195, doi:10.3390/ijgi5110195.
  • Huang, H., and Gao, S. (2018). Location-Based Services. The Geographic Information Science & Technology Body of Knowledge (1st Quarter 2018 Edition), John P. Wilson (Ed). doi: 10.22224/gistbok/2018.1.14
  • Huang, H., G Gartner, J.M. Krisp, M. Raubal, and N. Van de Weghe. Location based services: Ongoing evolution and research agenda. Journal of Location Based Services. 
  • Muehlenhaus I. 2013. Web Cartography: Map Design for Interactive and Mobile Devices. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
  • Meng, L., A. Zipf, and T. Reichenbacher. 2005. Map-based mobile services: Theories, methods, and implementations. Berlin: Springer.
  • Reichenbacher, T. 2001. Adaptive concepts for a mobile cartography. Journal of Geographical Sciences 11 (1):43–53.
  • Reichenbacher, T. 2003. Adaptive methods for mobile cartography. Paper presented at 21st International Cartographic Conference, Durban, South Africa, August 10.
  • Ricker, B., S. Daniel, and N. Hedley. 2014. Fuzzy boundaries: Hybridizing location-based services, volunteered geographic information, and geovisualization literature. Geography Compass 8 (7):490–504.
  • Ricker, B., and Roth, R. E. (2018). Mobile Maps and Responsive Design. The Geographic Information Science & Technology Body of Knowledge (2nd Quarter 2018 Edition), John P. Wilson (Ed)..
  • Roth R.E., S. Young, C. Nestel, C.M. Sack, B. Davidson, V. Knoppke-Wetzel, F. Ma, R. Mead, C. Rose, and G. Zhang. 2018. Global landscapes: Teaching globalization through responsive mobile map design. The Professional Geographer 70 (3): 395-411.
  • Stevens, J.E., A.C. Robinson, and A.M. MacEachren. 2013. Designing map symbols for mobile devices: Challenges, best practices, and the utilization of skeuomorphism. In: Proceedings of the International Cartographic Conference, Dresden, Germany, August 28.
  • Zipf, A. 2002. User-adaptive maps for location-based services (LBS) for tourism. Paper presented at Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism, Innsbruck, Austria.
  • van Elzakker, C. P. J. M., I. Delikostidis, and P. J. M. van Oosterom. 2009. Field-based usability evaluation methodology for mobile geo-applications. The Cartographic Journal 45 (2):139–49.
  • Wilson, M.W. 2012. Location-based services, conspicuous mobility, and the location-aware future. Geoforum 43 (6):1266–75.

Assessing map-reading skills using eye tracking and bayesian structural equation modelling

Abstract: Map reading is an important skill for acquiring spatial information. Previous studies have mainly used results-based assessments to learn about map-reading skills. However, how to model the relationship between map-reading skills and eye movement metrics is not well documented. In this paper, we propose a novel method to assess map-reading skills using eye movement metrics and Bayesian structural equation modelling. We recruited 258 participants to complete five map-reading tasks, which included map visualization, topology, navigation, and spatial association. The results indicated that map-reading skills could be reflected in three selected eye movement metrics, namely,the measure of first fixation, the measure of processing, and the measure of search. The model fitted well for all five tasks, and the scores generated by the model reflected the accuracy and efficiency of the participants’ performance. This study might provide a new approach to facilitate the quantitative assessment of map-reading skills based on eye tracking.

To site this paper:

Dong, W.; Jiang, Y.; Zheng, L.; Liu, B.; Meng, L. Assessing Map-Reading Skills Using Eye Tracking and Bayesian Structural Equation Modelling. Sustainability 201810, 3050.