Some Aspects of Mobile Map Services

Abstract: The technology of today, with the use of computers and the Internet, has enabled new types of map usage. Screen maps provide possibilities that could never be offered by standard paper maps, and allow maps to be integrated into information services. Mobile map services are information services adapted to mobility; using small screen presentation devices and communication networks to access various information databases on the fly. The research presented in this licentiate dissertation focuses on two aspects of mobile map services. The first papers are concerned with a more technical matter: the creation of methods to import and integrate external route data into a mobile map service. The developed methods were to be based on standards, and also consider user aspects to some degree. The last paper is concerned with user aspects, more specifically amount of information, for small screen maps. It presents an investigation that was performed with the aim to find if a method for presenting a suitable amount of information could be created. The import and integration of external route data into a mobile map service was part of the EU project GiMoDig. The GiMoDig project aimed at establishing methods for distributing cartographic data from core databases at NMAs to mobile devices. As one of the main uses of maps is navigation, it was desirable to integrate a routing service in the GiMoDig prototype. The integration of the route data was performed with a matching approach. The road network was searched in order to find corresponding road segments to the imported route segments. Like in other studies, the matching procedure was adapted to the used datasets. The characteristics of the datasets, and their similarities were taken advantage of, in order to find a satisfactory matching approach. The study of amount of information for small screen maps refers to the matter of usability, and the need to create products (and maps) as useful and user friendly as possible. Bearing in mind human perceptive and cognitive capacities, it would be of importance to find an optimal amount of information that would enable the user to gain as much knowledge from the map as possible. Information can be somewhat difficult to define as it is imposed with meaning. Therefore, in order to be able to measure information quantitatively, a syntactic approach was adopted. A hypothesis is that we always want the same amount of map information, for a specific scale, on the screen of a mobile device. To test this hypothesis a user study was performed. The study showed that there may be a relationship between amount of information and preferred generalization level. It also showed that the test persons preferred rather detailed maps over more simplified ones.

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