Motion of animated streamlets appears to surpass their graphical alterations in human visual detection of vector field maxima

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Title: Motion of animated streamlets appears to surpass their graphical alterations in human visual detection of vector field maxima
Author: Kettunen, Pyry; Oksanen, Juha
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date: 2019
Belongs to series: Cartography and Geographic Information Science
ISSN: 1523-0406
1545-0465
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/301427
Abstract: Animations have become a frequently utilized illustration technique on maps but changes in their graphical loading remain understudied in empirical geovisualization and cartographic research. Animated streamlets have gained attention as an illustrative animation technique and have become popular on widely viewed maps. We conducted an experiment to investigate how altering four major animation parameters of animated streamlets affects people’s reading performance of field maxima on vector fields. The study involved 73 participants who performed reaction-time tasks on pointing maxima on vector field stimuli. Reaction times and correctness of answers changed surprisingly little between visually different animations, with only a few occasional statistical significances. The results suggest that motion of animated streamlets is such a strong visual cue that altering graphical parameters makes only little difference when searching for the maxima. This leads to the conclusion that, for this kind of a task, animated streamlets on maps can be designed relatively freely in graphical terms and their style fitted to other contents of the map. In the broader visual and geovisual analytics context, the results can lead to more generally hypothesizing that graphical loading of animations with continuous motion flux could be altered without severely affecting their communicative power.
Subject: animation
streamlet
graphical loading
vector field
map
experiment
visual search


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