Visualizing Uncertainty of Point Phenomena by Redesigned Error Ellipses
Visualizing uncertainty remains one of the great challenges in modern cartography. There is no overarching strategy to display the nature of uncertainty, as an effective and efficient visualization depends, besides on the spatial data feature type, heavily on the type of uncertainty. This work presents a design strategy to visualize uncertainty con-nected to point features. The error ellipse, well-known from mathematical statistics, is adapted to display the uncer-tainty of point information originating from spatial generalization. Modified designs of the error ellipse show the po-tential of quantitative and qualitative symbolization and simultaneous point based uncertainty symbolization. The user can intuitively depict the centers of gravity, the major orientation of the point arrays as well as estimate the ex-tents and possible spatial distributions of multiple point phenomena. The error ellipse represents uncertainty in an intuitive way, particularly suitable for laymen. Furthermore it is shown how applicable an adapted design of the er-ror ellipse is to display the uncertainty of point features originating from incomplete data. The suitability of the error ellipse to display the uncertainty of point information is demonstrated within two showcases: (1) the analysis of formations of association football players, and (2) uncertain positioning of events on maps for the media.