Estimates of trend direction/ vagueness and bias in map reading.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A test of map users' identifications of regional trend directions documents the imprecision and bias of directional estimates. Fewer than 40% of the azimuths marked on circular test maps by the subjects were accurate within 5o. No relationship was readily apparent between accuracy and the complexity of the test surfaces symbolized as continuous-tone choropleth maps. Estimates of trend direction were biased toward the closest of 8 prototype cardinal and diagonal directions when the difference between correct and rptotyped directions was 10o or less. Generalization to one of these 8 principal directions is an example in map reading of the vagueness common to numerous cognitive classifications. When long-term memory intervenes in map analysis and interpretation, this directional generalization might lead to further inaccuracy in the conceptualization of geographic relationships.-Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-60
Number of pages16
JournalCanadian Cartography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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