Effect of Geospatial Uncertainty Borderization on Users’ Heuristic Reasoning
Keywords: uncertainty visualization, heuristics, borderization, cognitive science
Abstract. A set of mental strategies called "heuristics" – logical shortcuts that we use to make decisions under uncertainty – has become the subject of a growing number of studies. However, the process of heuristic reasoning about uncertain geospatial data remains relatively under-researched. With this study, we explored the relation between heuristics-driven decision-making and the visualization of geospatial data in states of uncertainty, with a specific focus on the visualization of borders, here termed "borderization". Therefore, we tested a set of cartographic techniques to visualize the boundaries of two types of natural hazards across a series of maps through a user survey. Respondents were asked to assess the safety and desirability of several housing locations potentially affected by air pollution or avalanches. Maps in the survey varied by "borderization" method, background color and type of information about uncertain data (e.g., extrinsic vs. intrinsic). Survey results, analyzed using a mixed quantitative-qualitative approach, confirmed previous suggestions that heuristics play a significant role in affecting users' map experience, and subsequent decision-making.