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Effectiveness of Interactive Cartograms

Data and R scripts used in the article Task-Based Effectiveness of Interactive Contiguous Area Cartograms by Ian K. Duncan, Shi Tingsheng, Simon T. Perrault, and Michael T. Gastner (2020, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, in press). Preprint available at

To reproduce Figures 4 and 5 of the article with a fresh plain-vanilla Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS installation, click on "Code", then "Download ZIP". Open a Terminal and navigate to the Downloads folder (e.g. cd ~/Downloads/). Unzip the file.


Install the dependencies.

cd effectiveness_of_interactive_cartograms-master/
sudo sh

Enter your Ubuntu password if prompted.

Figures 4 (objective_measures.pdf) and 5 (subjective_measures.pdf) are generated by these commands:

sudo Rscript objective_measures.R
sudo Rscript subjective_measures.R


  • questionnaire.pdf
  • interactive_cartogram_participant_info.csv
    • participant_id: integer between 1 and 55
    • age: in years (integers)
    • gender:
      • "Male"
      • "Female"
      • "Other"
      • "Prefer not to say".
    • education:
      • "High School graduate"
      • "Some college"
      • "Associate’s and/or Bachelor’s degree"
      • "Bachelor’s degree"
      • "Master’s degree"
      • "Doctorate or Professional degree"
    • familiar_with_interactive_graphics:
      • "Very unfamiliar"
      • "Unfamiliar"
      • "Somewhat familiar"
      • "Familiar"
      • "Very familiar"
    • familiar_with_cartogram:
      • "Very unfamiliar"
      • "Unfamiliar"
      • "Somewhat familiar"
      • "Familiar"
      • "Very familiar"
    • find_birthplace: "Consider the world map above. Would you be able to point at the location where you were born?"
      • "Yes, with confidence"
      • "Yes, with a little effort"
      • "Yes, with much effort"
      • "Possibly, but I’m uncertain"
      • "No"
    • look_up_on_map: "When you encounter the names of unfamiliar locations (e.g. countries, islands, lakes), how frequently do you immediately look them up on a map to find out where they are?"
      • "Never"
      • "Rarely"
      • "Sometimes"
      • "Generally"
      • "Always"
  • interactive_cartogram_objective_measures.csv
    • participant_id: matches participant ID in interactive_cartogram_participant_info.csv
    • question: integer, matches question number in questionnaire.pdf
    • task_type:
      • "Cluster"
      • "Compare"
      • "Detect Change"
      • "Filter"
      • "Find Adjacency"
      • "Find Top"
      • "Recognize"
      • "Summarize"
    • interactive_feature:
      • "None"
      • "CSA" (cartogram-switching animation)
      • "LB" (linked brushing)
      • "IT" (infotips)
      • "All"
    • answer_is_correct: TRUE or FALSE
    • response_time: in seconds
    • participant_uses_animation: TRUE, FALSE or NA. The value is TRUE if and only if animation is available (i.e. if interactive_feature equals "CSA" or "All") and the participant played the animation.
  • interactive_cartogram_subjective_measures.csv
    • participant_id: matches participant ID in interactive_cartogram_participant_info.csv
    • interactive_feature:
      • "CSA" (cartogram-switching animation)
      • "LB" (linked brushing)
      • "IT" (infotips)
    • phrase_pair:
      • "Difficult to use - Easy to use"
      • "Does not form immediate impression - Forms immediate impression"
      • "Conventional - Innovative"
      • "Redundant - Informative"
      • "Hindering - Helpful"
      • "Boring - Entertaining"
      • "Ugly - Elegant"
    • rating: integer between 1 (worst) and 5 (best)