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Usable visualization of landmarks on mobile maps

Massawe, Erimina Markanu (2011) Usable visualization of landmarks on mobile maps.

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Abstract:Currently the physical mobility of people is increasing and information technology is highly improving. Pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers, sailors, tourists and holiday makers can possibly travel from one place to another (familiar/unfamiliar areas). In orientation and navigation people tend to structure and recognize the space with the help of landmarks, therefore they need relevant landmark information in order to perform proper orientation and navigation. The need for proper landmark visualizations accelerated the growth of science in traffic behaviour, navigation systems and technology in various fields. Due to this it is important to represent these landmarks in an interactive manner, to enable individual users to decide which type of landmark visualization to be used during orientation and navigation. Landmarks are important physical, built, or culturally defined objects that stand out from their environment to help locating the geographic position. Best ways to visualize landmarks (being an essential part of both reality and mental maps of people) on the Mobile Maps (M2) to support users has been an active research topic of interest. However landmark visualizations are presented on M2 in a static way without considering individual user’s needs. There are no options of selecting how to visualize the landmarks interactively based on user contexts, difficulties of linking landmarks as they appear in map displays with reality and their mental maps and the vast amount of landmark visualizations. The design and test of an interactive prototype to adjust landmark visualizations to individual user needs has been done to allow users to decide on how to visualize the landmarks during orientation and navigation a geographic area. A User-Centred Design (UCD) approach, together with Google Maps JavaScript (JS) Application Programming Interface (API) were used to implement the prototype, including three proposed categories of landmark visualizations on M2 (Geometrics, Pictorials and Photos). Individual users are able to select the landmark visualizations of choice without limitations to solve problems. To investigate whether the proposed visualization of landmarks on M2 at the prototype is working well, a usability evaluation was done using field-based methods and techniques to deeply investigate the interaction of real users with the developed prototype in the real environment. The results showed that the designed and tested prototype for interactive visualization of landmarks on M2 can be considered as a useful outcome of this research. The test users’ landmark visualization preferences were obtained. Test users’ preference if they were to plan a route themselves, the results showed that, 42% preferred to use Pictorial symbols, 33% preferred to use Photos and 25% preferred to use Geometric symbols. During overview of the route, test users preferences were, 58% use Geometric symbols, 25% preferred to use Pictorial symbols and 17% preferred to use Photos. During navigation test users preferences were, 33% preferred to use all types of landmark visualization interactively (Geometrics, Pictorials and Photos), 25% preferred to Pictorial symbols and Photos interactively, 17% preferred to use Geometrics and Photos interactively, 8% preferred to photos only, 8% preferred to use Pictorial symbols and 8% preferred to use Geometrics symbols. Keywords Landmark visualizations, orientation and navigation, mobile maps, UCD, user contexts, prototyping, Google Maps JS API, field-based testing, usability evaluation.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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