Proxemic maps for immersive visualization

Zeinab Ghaemi, Ulrich Engelke, Barrett Ens, Bernhard Jenny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In human computer interaction, proxemics describes the ways that people use space to interact with other people or objects. We focus on proxemic maps, which are virtual maps in immersive environments that react to proxemic interaction. Proxemic maps take advantage of new opportunities brought about by immersive visualization, where virtual maps can be freely positioned in virtual or physical space and adapt themselves relative to the spatial position of the viewer. We discuss proxemic interactions that alter the content and type of maps, including changing scale, symbolization, type of visualization and geometry. We propose a novel transformation that changes the geometry of maps based on their proximity to users. Users move the map back and forth and the map transitions between ring, horizontal, vertical and cylindrical geometries. The ring geometry surrounds the user and aligns features on the map with features in the real world. We implemented the map transformation in virtual reality and conducted a user study to evaluate it. The results of the user study indicate that participants preferred the ring and horizontal geometries. The ring geometry is useful because it simplifies connecting virtual features on the map with real features in the landscape, while the horizontal geometry provides an overall view of the landscape. We further found that combination of different geometries helped the study participants to overcome the limitations of each geometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-219
Number of pages15
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2022


  • augmented reality
  • immersive maps
  • map projection
  • Proxemic interaction
  • proxemics
  • situated visualization
  • virtual reality

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