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Against all odds: Multi-criteria decision making with hazard prediction maps depicting uncertainty

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author FabrikantSara Irina,
Project EMOtive: Affective and effective visual analytics displays
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Annals of the American Association of Geographers
Title of proceedings Annals of the American Association of Geographers
DOI 10.1080/24694452.2019.1644992

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


We report on a multi-criteria decision making study where participants were asked to purchase a house shown on maps that include hazard prediction information. We find that participants decided to buy different houses, depending on whether uncertainty is shown on the map display, and on the type of uncertainty visualization (i.e., varying color value, focus, or texture). We also find that participants’ individual differences with respect to their assessed risk taking behavior influences their spatial decision making with maps. Risk takers seem to underestimate the dangers of natural hazards when prediction uncertainties are depicted. We are thus able to shed additional light on how people use visualized uncertainty information to make complex map-based decisions. We can demonstrate that not only design characteristics are relevant for map-based reasoning and decision making outcomes, but also the decision makers’ individual background, and the map-based decision-making context.