Utility and usability of intrinsic tag maps

Nai Yang, Alan M. MacEachren, Emily Domanico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Intrinsic tag maps fit a tag cloud inside a geographic boundary to emphasize the association of the tags with a particular administrative region. So far, little is known about their utility and usability. Here, we present the results of an empirical study to help fill this gap. The study uses information retrieval tasks to evaluate intrinsic tag map utility and uses user confidence and preference judgments as a metric of usability. Key independent variables in the empirical study include tag orientation and shape of geographic territory tags are positioned within. The user responses show that the intrinsic tag maps have good performance in some gisting tasks and can be used with great confidence. However, the performance degrades when the intrinsic tag maps are used to search for specific tags. The user responses also show that the readability and layout of the intrinsic tag maps needs improvement. Additionally, results show that geographic territory shape has a significant effect on the information retrieval and both geographic territory shape and tag orientation have a significant effect on the confidence, readability, and preference of the intrinsic tag map. Overall, our research results can be used to improve tag map designs to achieve better utility and usability and as the starting point for subsequent tag map research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-304
Number of pages14
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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