Graduate Student Profiles
Elaine Guidero is currently a Ph.D. candidate in geography, advised by Dr. Cynthia Brewer. Her tentative dissertation topic will be the evaluation of typography in cartographic applications. Typography is an essential part of any cartographic product, yet it is frequently overlooked by cartographers and designers. Her dissertation research will revolve around issues of legibility, aesthetics, and cognition as they apply to best practices of typographic design in maps.
Elaine graduated in 2012 from Penn State with a Master of Science in geography, advised by Dr. Alexander Klippel. For her Masters degree, she wrote two papers: Representing ordinal change in dynamic point symbols for emergency management applications, and Does topology predict geographic (2D) event segmentation?
More About Elaine's Research
Her first Masters paper grew out of an effort to determine the best representational scheme for a set of standardized map symbols. The paper describes an experiment involving a two-part reaction-time test of the ability of participants to recognize when symbols changed, and how they changed, with a view to recommending an ideal set of visual variables for this kind of symbol. The test showed that a visual variable scheme of hue combined with value yielded over the most accurate and fastest responses to detecting and identifying changing symbols. This scheme was recommended to DHS for improving the usefulness of an ANSI standard set of symbols for emergency management mapping.
Her second paper was attempt to answer two questions; first, whether people use processes of event segmentation to segment events in space, and if topology is a factor in this segmentation, and second, whether the RCC-8, a qualitative spatiotemporal calculus, can describe such spatial event segmentation. Event segmentation is a fundamental process which people use to conceptualize events, and parts of events, as discrete time-bounded entities. Event and sub-event segmentation occurs when people assign "breakpoints" to distinct breaks between activities. While temporal aspects of event segmentation, and temporal breakpoints, have been studied since the 1970s, only recently have the spatial aspects and spatial breakpoint types been explored. In an experiment, Elaine was able to establish that people segment events in 2D space, and that they do so primarily by assigning breakpoints at moments of topological change between moving objects, and that the RCC-8 is adequate to describe this segmentation because it describes such topological change.