Karl Rinner Price 2019

The Karl Rinner Prize 2019 goes to Mag.a Silvia Klettner for her outstanding publication “Why Shape Matters – On the Inherent Qualities of Geometric Shapes for Cartographic Representations”. This paper was written in the frame of her research appointment at the cartography group at Technische Universität Wien and publiched in 2019 in the ISPRS International Journal of Geoinformation.

Due to the Covid19 pandemic the award ceremony was held via video conference on November 11, 2020. Following the laudatory speech by Univ.Prof. Dr. Georg Gartner and the awarding ceremony Mag.a Silvia Klettner gave a talk on her research topic.


Why Shape Matters – On the Inherent Qualities of Geometric Shapes for Cartographic Representations

Abstract: All human communication involves the use of signs. By following a mutually shared set of signs and rules, meaning can be conveyed from one entity to another. Cartographic semiology provides such a theoretical framework, suggesting how to apply visual variables with respect to thematic content. However, semiotics does not address how the choice and composition of such visual variables may lead to different connotations, interpretations, or judgments. The research herein aimed to identify perceived similarities between geometric shape symbols as well as strategies and processes underlying these similarity judgments. Based on a user study with 38 participants, the (dis)similarities of a set of 12 basic geometric shapes (e.g., circle, triangle, square) were examined. Findings from cluster analysis revealed a three-cluster configuration, while multidimensional scaling further quantified the proximities between the geometric shapes in a two-dimensional space. Qualitative and quantitative content analyses identified four strategies underlying the participants’ similarity judgments, namely visual, affective, associative, and behavioral strategies. With the findings combined, this research provides a differentiated perspective on shape proximities, cognitive relations, and the processes involved.