Geographical information systems-based marketing decisions: effects of alternative visualizations on decision quality
Geographical Information Systems (GISs) are often used to assist marketing planners in identifying suitable retail locations, regionally distributing advertising campaigns, or targeting direct marketing activities. GIS–thematic maps facilitate the visual assessment of mapregions. A broad set of alternative symbolizations such as circles, bars or shading can be used to visually represent quantitative geospatial data on such maps. However, there is little knowledge on which kind of symbolization is the most adequate in which problem situation. In a large-scale experimental study, the authors show that the type of symbolization strongly influences decision performance. The findings indicate that graduated circles are appropriate symbolizations for GIS–thematic maps and their successful utilization seems to be virtually independent of personal characteristics such as spatial ability and map experience. This makes circle symbolizations particularly suitable for effective decision-making and cross-functional communication.