Silvia Klettner’s work on the subtle communication effects of map symbols was recently published in the ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information in the Special Issue on Geovisualization and Map Design: Klettner, S. (2020). Affective Communication of Map Symbols: A Semantic Differential Analysis. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 9(5), 289.
Maps enable us to relate to spatial phenomena and events from viewpoints far beyond direct experience. By employing signs and symbols, maps communicate about near as well as distant geospatial phenomena, events, objects, or ideas. Besides acting as identifiers, map signs and symbols may, however, not only denote but also connote. While most cartographic research has focused on the denoting character of visual variables, research from related disciplines stresses the importance of connotative qualities on affect, cognition, and behavior. Hence, this research focused on the connotative character of map symbols by empirically assessing the affective qualities of shape stimuli.