A Chrome plugin that presents on-demand personalized maps for unfamiliar distances, areas, and locations.
We encounter measurements like distances and areas often in online text. But many times it is difficult to grasp the magnitude of a distance or area in absolute terms. For example, how long is 100 miles really? How big is 21 acres? How large is the country of Pakistan?
Atlas of Me automatically generates personalized spatial analogy maps that re-express distances, areas, and location references in terms of landmarks that are likely to be more familiar to you. Try it on articles that contain distances, areas, or locations.
Enter a U.S. location that is familiar to you:
Select a measurement type:
Enter a measurement to re-express:
We developed a database of landmarks and their properties by scraping public datasets containing spatial entities (Yelp, OpenStreetMap). We use a heuristic based on prior work in behavioral geograph to differentiate area landmarks (those for which area is likely to be memorable to people) from other landmarks, which we retain and use for distances. We query the Flickr photo set using variations of each landmark's name to identify how well known a landmark is to the general population.
Download the landmark dataset from our repository.
We describe how we developed an automated approach to generating on-demand personalized spatial analogies for distances, areas, and location references.
Abstract: Distances and areas frequently appear in text articles. However, people struggle to understand these measurements when they cannot relate them to measurements of locations that they are personally familiar with. We contribute tools for generating personalized spatial analogies: re-expressions that contextualize spatial measurements in terms of locations with similar measurements that are more familiar to the user. Our automated approach takes a user’s location and generates a personalized spatial analogy for a target distance or area using landmarks. We present an interactive application that tags distances, areas, and locations in a text article and presents personalized spatial analogies using interactive maps. We find that users who view a personalized spatial analogy map generated by our system rate the helpfulness of the information for understanding a distance or area 1.9 points higher (on a 7 pt scale) than when they see the article with no spatial analogy and 0.7 points higher than when they see generic spatial analogy.
Ph.D. student, Information School, University of Washingtonyeaseulkim
Assistant Professor, Information School, University of Washingtonjhullman