The FogDetector: A User Survey to Measure Disorientation in Pan-Scalar Maps (Short Paper)

Authors Guillaume Touya , Justin Berli

Thumbnail PDF


  • Filesize: 1.61 MB
  • 6 pages

Document Identifiers

Author Details

Guillaume Touya
  • LASTIG, Univ Gustave Eiffel, IGN-ENSG, F-77420 Champs-sur-Marne, France
Justin Berli
  • LASTIG, Univ Gustave Eiffel, IGN-ENSG, F-77420 Champs-sur-Marne, France


The authors want to thank all the anonymous participants of the FogDetector survey

Cite AsGet BibTex

Guillaume Touya and Justin Berli. The FogDetector: A User Survey to Measure Disorientation in Pan-Scalar Maps (Short Paper). In 12th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 277, pp. 73:1-73:6, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


When we navigate into interactive multi-scale maps that we call pan-scalar maps, it is usual to feel disoriented. This is partly due to the fact that map views do not always contain visual cues of the location of the past map views of the navigation. This paper presents an online study that seeks to understand and measure this disorientation occurring when zooming in or out of a pan-scalar map. An online study was designed and more than 150 participants finished the survey. The study shows a very small difference between the time to succeed in the memorising task after a zoom and a pan, but the difference is more significant when we compare zooming in with a large scale gap to panning. The study also shows that disorientation is not similar when zooming in and zooming out.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Applied computing → Cartography
  • disorientation
  • zoom
  • pan
  • multi-scale map
  • desert fog
  • user survey


  • Access Statistics
  • Total Accesses (updated on a weekly basis)
    PDF Downloads


  1. Ann-Kathrin Bestgen, Dennis Edler, Kristina Müller, Patrick Schulze, Frank Dickmann, and Lars Kuchinke. Where Is It (in the Map)? Recall and Recognition of Spatial Information. Cartographica, 52(1):80-97, 2017. URL:
  2. Paul Dudchenko. Why People Get Lost: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Spatial Cognition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1st edition edition, September 2010. Google Scholar
  3. Niklas Elmqvist, Andrew V. Moere, Hans-Christian Jetter, Daniel Cernea, Harald Reiterer, and T. J. Jankun-Kelly. Fluid interaction for information visualization. Information Visualization, 10(4):327-340, 2011. URL:
  4. Pablo Fernández Velasco and Roberto Casati. Subjective disorientation as a metacognitive feeling. Spatial Cognition & Computation, 20(4):281-305, October 2020. URL:
  5. Maïeul Gruget, Guillaume Touya, and Ian Muehlenhaus. Missing the city for buildings? a critical review of pan-scalar map generalization and design in contemporary zoomable maps. International Journal of Cartography, 2023. URL:
  6. Mark Harrower and Benjamin Sheesley. Designing Better Map Interfaces: A Framework for Panning and Zooming. Transactions in GIS, 9(2):77-89, 2005. URL:
  7. Susanne Jul and George W. Furnas. Critical Zones in Desert Fog: Aids to Multiscale Navigation. In Proceedings of the 11th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, UIST '98, pages 97-106, New York, NY, USA, 1998. ACM. event-place: San Francisco, California, USA. URL:
  8. Bela Julesz. A theory of preattentive texture discrimination based on first-order statistics of textons. Biological Cybernetics, 41(2):131-138, August 1981. URL:
  9. Daniel R. Montello. Geographic orientation, disorientation, and misorientation: a commentary on Fernandez Velasco and Casati. Spatial Cognition & Computation, 20(4):306-313, 2020. URL:
  10. Matthew Plumlee and Colin Ware. Zooming, multiple windows, and visual working memory. In Proceedings of the Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces, AVI '02, pages 59-68, New York, NY, USA, May 2002. Association for Computing Machinery. URL:
  11. Irvin Rock, Christopher M Linnett, Paul Grant, and Arien Mack. Perception without attention: Results of a new method. Cognitive Psychology, 24(4):502-534, October 1992. URL:
  12. Robert E. Roth. Interactive maps: What we know and what we need to know. Journal of Spatial Information Science, 6:59-115, 2013. URL:
  13. Guillaume Touya, Maïeul Gruget, and Ian Muehlenhaus. Where Am I Now? Modelling Disorientation in Pan-Scalar Maps. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 12(2):62, February 2023. URL:
  14. Peter U. Tse. Mapping visual attention with change blindness: new directions for a new method. Cognitive science, 28(2):241-258, 2004. URL:
  15. Johannes Zagermann, Ulrike Pfeil, and Harald Reiterer. Measuring Cognitive Load using Eye Tracking Technology in Visual Computing. In Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Beyond Time and Errors on Novel Evaluation Methods for Visualization, BELIV '16, pages 78-85, New York, NY, USA, October 2016. Association for Computing Machinery. URL: