Geografie 2019, 124, 187-216

Research into map-analysis strategies: theory- and data-driven approaches

Lenka Havelková, Martin Hanus

Charles University, Faculty of Science, Department of Social Geography and Regional Development, Centre for Geographical and Environmental Education, Prague, Czechia

Received November 2018
Accepted April 2019

This study focuses on the strategies used during an analysis of four types of thematic maps (line symbols, area-shading, choropleths, and diagram maps) on the basis of the use of eyetracking technology. Moreover, it discusses the use of data-driven (spatial and spatiotemporal) and theory-driven (spatiotemporal) methodological approaches to research on the topic and aims to verify their applicability experimentally. The results of the experiment assist in identifying the main merits and limits of these approaches and serve to supplement and expand the results of prior studies. It is apparent that the strategies selected by users, when analyzing maps, are highly individualized and are distinguished by the frequent flitting of the eyes between the individual parts of the task. Among other things, it was discovered that most attention was paid to the task instructions and the map, and that the most frequently utilized sequence of eye movement was: task, map, (scale/north arrow, legend), answers.


Funding for this research was provided by the Charles University Grant Agency, Project 42217, “Students’ Strategies for Solving Tasks with Maps” and by Charles University Research Centre program no. UNCE/HUM/024.


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