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Publication Detail
Interactive map communication: Pilot study of the visual perceptions and preferences of public health practitioners
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Koenig A, Samarasundera E, Cheng T
  • Publisher:
    Elsevier
  • Publication date:
    2011
  • Pagination:
    554, 560
  • Journal:
    Public Health
  • Volume:
    125
  • Issue:
    8
  • Status:
    Published
  • Print ISSN:
    1476-5616
  • Keywords:
    E-health, Geographic, GIS, Informatics, Mapping
Abstract
Objectives To conduct a pilot study into the comprehension and visualisation preferences of geographic information by public health practitioners (PHPs), particularly in the context of interactive, Internet-based atlases. Study design Structured human–computer interaction interviews. Methods Seven academia-based PHPs were interviewed as information service users based on a structured questionnaire to assess their understanding of geographic representations of morbidity data, and identify their visualisation preferences in a geographic information systems environment. Results Awareness of area-based deprivation indices and the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007 health and disability domain was near-universal. However, novice users of disease maps had difficulties in interpreting data classifications, in understanding supplementary information in the form of box plots and histograms, and in making use of links between interactive tabular and cartographic information. Choices for colour plans when viewing maps showed little agreement between users, although pre-viewing comments showed preferences for red–blue diverging schema. Conclusions PHPs new to geographic information would benefit from enhanced interpretive support documentation to meet their needs when using Internet-based, interactive public health atlases, which are rarely provided at such sites. Technical, software-related support alone is insufficient. Increased interaction between PHPs and mapmakers would be beneficial to maximise the potential of the current growth in interactive, electronic atlases, and improve geographic information support for public health decision-making and informing the wider public.
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