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Assessing Map Reading And Map Design Using Eye Tracking Software

Authors: Tammy Eifler*, Kennesaw State University, Nancy Hoalst-Pullen, Kennesaw State University, Uli Ingram, Kennesaw State University, Luke Freiler, Kennesaw State University
Topics: Geography Education, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: cartography, map design, map reading, eye-tracking glasses, heat maps
Session Type: Guided Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Cartographic design is an important aspect to geographic information science (GIS) as it aids in visualizing the spatial patterns and relationships inherent to mapping. To empirically assess the role of cartographic design in mapping, we asked students in taking lower and upper level geography and GIS courses at Kennesaw State University to read digital maps while wearing eye tracking glasses. Students were asked pre and post questions, and viewed maps deemed a priori “cartographically good” and “cartographically poor” in nature. To visually interpret the map reading data, heat maps were created using ESRI ArcGIS Pro software. Findings answered the following questions: 1. how does eye-tracking show how students read maps; 2. how do students with differing levels of geospatial skills read digital maps; and 3. how does map design influence map reading.

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