Creative Map Studio: A Platform for Visual Analytics of Mental Maps
This paper is devoted to the development of software tools, which allow to create and analyze mental maps in digital format. Mental maps are used to study humans' cognitive characteristics and geospatial perception. To support Digital Humanities research based on the analysis of the mental maps, we developed a special high-level web-based vector graphics editor called Creative Maps Studio that allows informants to intuitively draw digital naive maps as a representation of their mental maps. The
... Creative Maps Studio web application provides a wide variety of drawing tools based on points, lines, and areas, which allow representing different objects on the map, such as cities, historical monuments, industrial facilities, state borders, roads, rivers, steppes, seas, swamps, etc. For each object, individual parameters can be set, such as color, size, transparency, name, description, emoticons, etc. Digital maps can be analyzed in various ways, relying on computer vision, machine learning, visualization, and manual expert analysis. Creative Maps Studio stores not only the final state of maps but also the entire history of user actions on the canvas, which makes it possible to consider the process of creating a map by the analysis. While Creative Maps Studio provides basic functions to view the informants' maps and the history of their creation, we propose involving special software to achieve a comprehensive analysis of mental maps. In particular, we rely on the previously developed SciVi data mining platform and Semograph graph-semantic modeling information system. Creative Maps Studio provides appropriate export capabilities to transfer required data to these software systems. After exporting, the expert can use SciVi and Semograph to perform visual analytics of map objects' properties, to handle maps' textual layers, and to classify the maps on the principles of the fuzzy set theory. Thus, the mentioned software can be used to carry out the comprehensive study of informants' spatial perception. In the future works, we plan to expand the set of objects available to draw the maps, allowing researchers to create custom ones, as well as to integrate analytics tools of maps creation history directly in the Creative Maps Studio.