|Ph.D Student||Gilbuh Elena|
|Subject||Conceptualization of Visual Representation in GIS|
The Special Case of Electromagnetism
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Miriam Reiner|
__ This research deals with the perception of visual representations of electromagnetic fields in maps that are based on methodology of Geographical Information Systems. The study further examines comprehension processes and application of the physical meaning, extracted from the visual representations of electromagnetic concepts, and the identification of the relationship between the early conceptual perceptions and map reading.
Using the conceptual open questionnaire, the preexisting perception of the target audience (teachers and engineers) regarding electromagnetic fields was checked. The comprehension of physical meaning, based on visual representations of abstract concepts in maps was examined with the aid of the map open questionnaire. Consistency between initial perceptions and the interpretation of visual representations in maps on electromagnetism was examined using double clusters - pairs of questions (one from the conceptual questionnaire and one from the map questionnaire) which are parallel from a conceptual point of view, meaning that they relate to the same field property. The test of existing mental schemes on the subject of electromagnetism was carried out using triple clusters. Also the perception of different visual representations of field intensity levels was tested.
Results show that map readers’ initial schemes and mental models regarding electromagnetic fields, enable the map readers to grasp and comprehend the information that is not represented directly in the map. The research subjects filled in the missing information in the map, using the concepts that they initially possessed.
Thus, three major factors that influence comprehension of maps representing electromagnetic fields were discovered: preconceived perceptions, type of visual and verbal representation and the context of the representation.