Cartography in Early Warning and Crisis Management

Innovative data and mapping methods for disaster risk reduction

4104.2 - The Role of Cartographic Interface Complexity on Decision-Making: A Preliminary Hazardous Waste Trade Case Study

Tuesday, July 4
8:50 AM - 9:10 AM
Location: Virginia B

Here, we report on an empirical study investigating the role of interface complexity—the scope and freedom of interactive functionality—on spatial decision-making using a case study in transnational regulation and trade of hazardous waste. Due to the lack of guidelines for complex management decisions, we found ourselves defaulting to two map solutions: simple stories with minimal interactivity (http://www.geography.wisc.edu/hazardouswaste/clean-harbors-shipments.html) and a complex geovisualization tool with high interactivity (http://geography.wisc.edu/hazardouswaste/map/). As we engage with regulators and community leaders, we need to know how this differential level of interface complexity influences decision-making.

We first interviewed experts on the North American hazardous waste trade for insight into spatial decisions common in this industry. We then designed an online experiment using the MapStudy instrument: http://github.com/uwcart/mapstudy. The experiment follows a 2x2 factorial design varying interface complexity (simple versus complex) and decision complexity (simple versus complex), with each participant making decisions prototypical to the case study. We recorded participant interaction and measured decision correctness, response time, confidence, and perceived difficulty.

Our qualitative interview study revealed two primary spatial decisions involving the waste trade: site selection for processing plants and mitigating community risk. Accordingly, we designed four site selection decisions of varying complexity for the online map study. Preliminary results indicate that the amount of interactivity (simple versus complex) in the map influences the effectiveness and efficiency of decision-making differentially, and that different kinds of user expertise influence spatial decision-making differentially.

Kristen Vincent

Graduate Student
Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kristen Vincent is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working towards a Master of Science degree in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems. Her research investigates the effect cartographic interfaces have on higher-level cognitive tasks, such as decision-making tasks. During her time at UW-Madison, Kristen has also been a member of two research teams. One team is investigating the North American hazardous waste trade, while the other is studying Interactive Cartography. Kristen is also a co-organizer of Maptime Madison.

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Eric Nost

Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Eric Nost is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include political ecology, commodification, wetlands, (big) data and the environment, mixed-methods research, and interactive visualization.

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Heather Rosenfeld

Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Heather Rosenfeld is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include hybridity, labor, and infrastructure; critical GIS; information theory and the body; feminism and feminist geography; science and technology studies; and animals.

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Sarah A. Moore

Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sarah Moore is an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include Urban Geography, Waste, Spatial and Social Theory, Emotional Geographies, Feminism, and Postcolonial Development Studies.

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Robert E. Roth

Associate Professor
Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Robert Roth is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Faculty Director of the University of Wisconsin Cartography Lab. Rob serves as a Vice Chair to the ICA Commission on Use, Users, and Usability (UUU). His research interests include interactive, mobile, and online map design, as well as UX design, geovisualization, and geovisual analytics. #mapsrock

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Ming-Hsiang Tsou

Professor
San Diego State University

Dr. Ming-Hsiang (Ming) Tsou is a Professor in the Department of Geography, San Diego State University (SDSU) and the Director of Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA). His research interests are in Human Dynamics, Social Media, Big Data, Visualization, Internet Mapping, Web GIS, Mobile GIS, Cartography, and K-12 GIS education. He is co-author of "Internet GIS", a scholarly book published in 2003 by Wiley and served on the editorial boards of the Annals of GIS (2008-), Cartography and GIScience (2013-) and the Professional Geographers (2011-). He has been served on two U.S. National Academy of Science Committees. In Spring 2014, Tsou established a new research center, Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (http://humandynamics.sdsu.edu/), a transdisciplinary research area of excellence at San Diego State University to integrate research works from GIScience, Public Health, Social Science, Sociology, and Communication. Tsou is the founding director of the HDMA Center.

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