Geografie 2018, 123, 353-378

Eye-tracking analysis of the influence of relief shading on finding labels on tourist maps

Stanislav Popelka

Palacký University Olomouc, Faculty of Science, Department of Geoinformatics, Czechia

Received November 2017
Accepted June 2018

This paper evaluates the influence of relief shading in finding labels on tourist maps. Two types of maps were compared, one in which terrain was depicted with contour lines and spot heights, and the other enhanced with relief shading. The task was to find specific hills and villages. Two aspects were investigated – whether shading helped users find hills, and whether shading made it more difficult to find villages. The eye-tracking method was used for this study. The results indicate that respondents prefer shaded maps from an aesthetic point of view. Pairwise comparison of individual stimuli pairs and groups of stimuli was performed with the use of five eye-tracking metrics. Most of the eye-tracking metrics were significantly different for most of the stimuli. The results of the experiment show that shaded maps are less suitable for finding hills and villages. The least effective result was observed in finding villages on a shaded map.


This work was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic (NAKI II research programme; project No. DG18P02OVV017), Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (project no. CZ.02.3.68/0.0/0.0/16_011/0000669) and The Czech Science Foundation (project No. 18-05432S).


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