Animated cartographic visualization incorporates the concept of geomedia presented in this Special Issue. The presented study aims to examine the effectiveness of spatial pattern and temporal trend recognition on animated choropleth maps. In a controlled laboratory experiment with participants and eye tracking, fifteen animated maps were used to show a different spatial patterns and temporal trends. The participants’ task was to correctly detect the patterns and trends on a choropleth map. The study results show that effective spatial pattern and temporal trend recognition on a choropleth map is related to participants’ visual behavior. Visual attention clustered in the central part of the choropleth map supports effective spatio-temporal relationship recognition. The larger the area covered by the fixation cluster, the higher the probability of correct temporal trend and spatial pattern recognition. However, animated choropleth maps are more suitable for presenting temporal trends than spatial patterns. Understanding the difficulty in the correct recognition of spatio-temporal relationships might be a reason for implementing techniques that support effective visual searches such as highlighting, cartographic redundancy, or interactive tools. For end-users, the presented study reveals the necessity of the application of a specific visual strategy. Focusing on the central part of the map is the most effective strategy for the recognition of spatio-temporal relationships.
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