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When size matters: Towards evaluating perceivability of choropleths

McNabb, Liam; Laramee, Robert S.; Wilson, Max L.


Liam McNabb


G. Tam

F. Vidal


Choropleth maps are an invaluable visualization type for mapping geo-spatial data. One advantage to a choropleth map over other geospatial visualizations such as cartograms is the familiarity of a non-distorted landmass. However, this causes challenges when an area becomes too small in order to accurately perceive the underlying color. When does size matter in a choropleth map? We conduct an experiment to verify the relationship between choropleth maps, their underlying color map, and a user’s perceivability. We do this by testing a user’s perception of color relative to an administrative area’s size within a choropleth map, as well as user-preference of fixed-locale maps with enforced minimum areas. Based on this initial experiment we can make the first recommendations with respect to a unit area’s minimum size in order to be perceivably useful.


McNabb, L., Laramee, R. S., & Wilson, M. L. (2018). When size matters: Towards evaluating perceivability of choropleths. In G. Tam, & F. Vidal (Eds.), EG UK Computer Graphics & Visual Computing. , (163-171).

Conference Name Computer Graphics and Visual Computing, CGVC 2018
Conference Location Swansea, UK
Start Date Sep 13, 2018
End Date Sep 14, 2018
Acceptance Date Jul 30, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 13, 2018
Publication Date Sep 13, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 15, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 16, 2018
Volume 2018-September
Pages 163-171
Book Title EG UK Computer Graphics & Visual Computing
ISBN 9783038680710
Public URL
Publisher URL


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