4th Nordic Summer School
                      in Geographic Information Science
       3 - 7 August 2009, Gävle, Sweden
(in conjunction with the 3rd ICA workshop)
Map animations ĘC usability tests on Web 

Terje Midtbø

The Internet and the Web is today a major channel for the distribution of geographic information. And much of this information is presented through maps. Since this is an electronic media it opens for a wide use of interaction with the map, and it opens for animation of changing geographic phenomena. However, how can we know that these maps communicates the information in a good way, and how do we know if the animations works?

This workshop will present some methods for the study of how well people are able to comprehend various types of map animations. It will in particular get into the technical configuration of usability tests. Several methods may be used for constructing map animations. In this workshop Adobe Flash will be used in some simple examples. To collect information from the Web, or for example mobile phones, the data have to be handled by a server and stored in a data base. In our case we will use PHP in the communication with the user-side application, and its frequent companion MySQL as a data base for storage of the collected data. While Flash is a proprietary software, both the two last are OpenSource.

The workshop will be based on lectures and demonstrations of how these systems may work together and how the cartographic application should be designed in order to initiate a significant response to suchlike experiments. The workshop provides simple exercises where the participants may try to implement different parts of this system.