About the lab
The Geographic Information Visualization and Analysis group [http://www.geo.uzh.ch/en/units/giva.html] is one of three GIScience groups at the GIScience Center of the University of Zurich's (UZH) Geography Department, at the UZH Faculty of Science.
Featured projects (3)
We tried to bridge the gap between time pressure research and empirical map design with a set of controlled user experiments, focusing on context-related, map-related and user-related factors.
Featured research (40)
This article reports on an empirical study investigating cultural differences in the visuospatial perception and cognition of qualitative point symbols shown on reference maps. We developed two informationally equivalent symbol sets depicted on identical reference maps that were shown to Czech and Chinese map readers. The symbols varied in visual contrast with respect to the base map. Our empirical results suggest the existence of cultural influences on map reading, but not in the predicted direction based on the previous cross-cultural studies. Our findings stress the importance of considering the cultural background of map readers, especially when designing reference maps aimed for global online use.
Fitting canine cancer incidences through a conventional regression model assumes constant statistical relationships across the study area in estimating the model coefficients. However, it is often more realistic to consider that these relationships may vary over space. Such a condition, known as spatial non-stationarity, implies that the model coefficients need to be estimated locally. In these kinds of local models, the geographic scale, or spatial extent, employed for coefficient estimation may also have a pervasive influence. This is because important variations in the local model coefficients across geographic scales may impact the understanding of local relationships. In this study, we fitted canine cancer incidences across Swiss municipal units through multiple regional models. We computed diagnostic summaries across the different regional models, and contrasted them with the diagnostics of the conventional regression model, using value-by-alpha maps and scalograms. The results of this comparative assessment enabled us to identify variations in the goodness-of-fit and coefficient estimates. We detected spatially non-stationary relationships, in particular, for the variables related to biological risk factors. These variations in the model coefficients were more important at small geographic scales, making a case for the need to model canine cancer incidences locally in contrast to more conventional global approaches. However, we contend that prior to undertaking local modeling efforts, a deeper understanding of the effects of geographic scale is needed to better characterize and identify local model relationships.
Geovisualization is primarily understood as the process of interactively visualizing geographic information in any of the steps in spatial analyses, even though it can also refer to the visual output (e.g., plots, maps, combinations of these), or the associated techniques. Rooted in cartography, geovisualization emerged as a research thrust with the leadership of Alan MacEachren (Pennsylvania State University) and colleagues when interactive maps and digitally-enabled exploratory data analysis led to a paradigm shift in 1980s and 1990s. A core argument for geovisualization is that visual thinking using maps is integral to the scientific process and hypothesis generation, and the role of maps grew beyond communicating the end results of an analysis or documentation process. As such, geovisualization interacts with a number of disciplines including cartography, visual analytics, information visualization, scientific visualization, statistics, computer science, art-and-design, and cognitive science; borrowing from and contributing to each. In this entry, we provide a definition and a brief history of geovisualization including its fundamental concepts, elaborate on its relationship to other disciplines, and briefly review the skills/tools that are relevant in working with geovisualization environments. We finish the entry with a list of learning objectives, instructional questions, and additional resources.
Navigation systems are popular, as they support navigators in their everyday wayfinding activities. However, what happens to spatial knowledge acquisition and retention with increasing reliance on navigation system support? We conducted an outdoor wayfinding study with pedestrians , supported by the eye tracking data collection method, to investigate the role of navigation assistance on spatial knowledge acquisition. We specifically studied visual interactions with the environment between aided and unaided wayfinders. We observe that navigation system use significantly reduces forward and backwards glances during navigation, while glances to the right and left of the navigator along the route do not differ when comparing aided and unaided wayfinders. Our empirical findings shed new light on how the reliance of navigation assistance during wayfinding may affect navigators' engagement with the traversed environment, and how this in turn may affect spatial knowledge acquisition during wayfinding.
This study empirically investigates the potential of auditory displays for spatial data exploration, as an additional means to broaden the accessibility and dissemination of geographic information for a diverse body of users. In a mixed factorial experiment, three parameter mapping sonification methods are empirically evaluated to interactively explore discrete and continuous digital elevation models by auditory means. Contrasting prior sonification research, this study’s unique empirical evidence suggests that participants can indeed successfully interpret sonified displays containing continuous spatial data. Specifically, the auditory variable pitch leads to significantly better response accuracy, compared to the sound variable duration. Background and training has a weak effect on data interpretation performance with the auditory display. The more immersive the experienced soundscape, the better participants can interpret the sonified terrain. These encouraging empirical results indeed suggest that interactive auditory displays might offer additional means to disseminate spatial information, and to increase the accessibility to spatial data, beyond the currently dominant visual paradigm.