Visualizing Location Uncertainty on Mobile Devices: Assessing Users’ Perception and Preferences

Champika Manel Ranasinghe*, Christian Kray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Location information is rarely perfectly accurate: usually it is subject to variations, errors and uncertainty, which may affect the quality of location-based services such as Pedestrian Navigation Systems (PNS). Visualizing location uncertainty is one option to address this issue. However, it is unclear how users interpret these visualizations. This paper investigated whether different types and styles of visualizing location uncertainty on mobile devices have an impact on user’s perceptions, and which options they prefer. We also proposed a new visualization (cloud shape) to represent location uncertainty and compared it to the two existing shapes (circle and colored street segments—CSS). Results indicate that the design and the style of a visualization influence users’ understanding of where they are located. More importantly, results indicated that the cloud could be a better option to visualize the uncertainty if the uncertainty of location information is very high. These findings can be used by the designers to modify/change the shape and style of the visualization to provide users with a more accurate picture of the quality of location information.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeospatial Data in a Changing World
Subtitle of host publicationSelected papers of the 19th AGILE Conference on Geographic Information Science
EditorsTapani Sarjakoski, Maribel Yasmina Santos, L. Tiina Sarjakoski
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages315
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-33783-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-33782-1
Publication statusPublished - May 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event19th AGILE conference on Geographic Information Science, AGILE 2016 - Helskini, Finland
Duration: 14 Jun 201617 Jun 2016
Conference number: 19

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography
ISSN (Print)1863-2246
ISSN (Electronic)1863-2351


Conference19th AGILE conference on Geographic Information Science, AGILE 2016
Abbreviated titleAGILE


  • Visualizing uncertainty
  • Localization
  • Pedestrian navigation
  • Tracking
  • Mobile human computer interaction

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