University of Twente Student Theses


Effectiveness of 2D and 3D Symbols on Virtual Globes

Li, Tianqi (2023) Effectiveness of 2D and 3D Symbols on Virtual Globes.

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Abstract:Virtual Globes have been widely used in all research fields to represent geospatial data. Despite the popularity, only a few empirical studies have been conducted to understand how to utilize Virtual Globes for more effective geo-information communication. The overarching research objective for this study is to understand and explore the effectiveness of 3D and 2D symbols on Virtual Globes under different circumstances based on the existing symbolization guidelines. The influencing variables include 1> the different viewing scales of Virtual Globes and 2> the perception of readers with different backgrounds. A user study was conducted with 32 participants filled into cartographer group and non-cartographer group. A Web-based prototype with 3D cylinders and 2D circles is developed by using CesiumJS as a tool for visualization. Shapiro-Wilk test is applied to test the distribution of responses. Wilcoxon test is applied to evaluate the effectiveness of symbol study tasks. Kruskal-Wallis H Test and Post-hoc Dunn's test with a Bonferroni correction are applied for the subjective feeling measurement. The result indicates that 3D cylinders are more effective and preferred than 2D circles at small scales, 2D circles perform badly at all scales but are preferred by both cartographer and non-cartographer users at large scales for a more pleasant aesthetic design. Both user groups are more likely to overestimate the 3D cylinders and underestimate the 2D circles. The likelihood of overestimation and underestimation becomes larger as the zoom level becomes larger. Users’ preference and effectiveness of 2D and 3D symbols do not show significant deviation at medium scale. Rather than indicate a specific point as a design guideline, this study proposes the idea that dynamic symbols changing with zoom level could be a better design for Web-based Virtual Globes applications. The specific changing point should always consider the purpose of visualization, the targeting users, the density of the objects, and other influencing factors.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Subject:74 (human) geography, cartography, town and country planning, demography
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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