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The use of eye tracking for analysing the perception of landscape composition and vertical objects

Lien Dupont (UGent) , Kristien Ooms (UGent) and Veerle Van Eetvelde (UGent)
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Abstract
The European Landscape Convention states the need for public participation in landscape planning and management. Therefore, it is important to know how landscapes are observed by people, how they perceive different landscape features, to include this knowledge into landscape planning and design. This can be measured objectively using eye tracking technology, a system measuring the speed and direction of eye movements (saccades) and fixations while looking at images. Although the eye tracking system is used in the field of experimental psychology, it is also introduced in geography, landscape science and cartography and is emerging as an innovative tool for assessing people’s perception of images (e.g. landscape photographs, maps). The general aim of this paper is to assess the effect of the horizontal and vertical view angle of landscape photographs on the perception of landscapes. Also, the influence of the type of landscape on perception is tested. Therefore, a group of 20 observers are asked to observe 72 landscape photographs. The photographs represent 18 different landscapes in Flanders, ranging from urban and multifunctional suburban landscapes to more rural landscapes, differing in degree of urbanisation, openness, heterogeneity and topography. For each site, four pictures are taken: a panoramic photograph (70° horizontal view angle), standard photograph (31°), a detail photograph (< 31°) and a wide angle photograph to determine the influence of the view angle on the perception of landscape composition. To avoid effects of transparency by vegetation, all photographs are taken in the same season. The respondents are graduate geographers. The measurements are done using an Eye Link 1000 device from SR Research (Ontario). The results are visualised in density maps, showing the intensity of eye fixations on different features in the landscape. Also, saccades are visualised and their length is measured to determine the influence of the complexity of landscapes on the number and length of eye movements.
Keywords
view angle, Flanders, Landscape photographs, everyday landscapes

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Chicago
Dupont, Lien, Kristien Ooms, and Veerle Van Eetvelde. 2011. “The Use of Eye Tracking for Analysing the Perception of Landscape Composition and Vertical Objects.” In ECLAS Conference, Abstracts, 193–194.
APA
Dupont, Lien, Ooms, K., & Van Eetvelde, V. (2011). The use of eye tracking for analysing the perception of landscape composition and vertical objects. ECLAS Conference, Abstracts (pp. 193–194). Presented at the ECLAS Conference 2011 : Ethics/Aesthetics.
Vancouver
1.
Dupont L, Ooms K, Van Eetvelde V. The use of eye tracking for analysing the perception of landscape composition and vertical objects. ECLAS Conference, Abstracts. 2011. p. 193–4.
MLA
Dupont, Lien, Kristien Ooms, and Veerle Van Eetvelde. “The Use of Eye Tracking for Analysing the Perception of Landscape Composition and Vertical Objects.” ECLAS Conference, Abstracts. 2011. 193–194. Print.
@inproceedings{2133836,
  abstract     = {The European Landscape Convention states the need for public participation in landscape planning and management. Therefore, it is important to know how landscapes are observed by people, how they perceive different landscape features, to include this knowledge into landscape planning and design. This can be measured objectively using eye tracking technology, a system measuring the speed and direction of eye movements (saccades) and fixations while looking at images.
Although the eye tracking system is used in the field of experimental psychology, it is also introduced in geography, landscape science and cartography and is emerging as an innovative tool for assessing people{\textquoteright}s perception of images (e.g. landscape photographs, maps). The general aim of this paper is to assess the effect of the horizontal and vertical view angle of landscape photographs on the perception of landscapes. Also, the influence of the type of landscape on perception is tested. Therefore, a group of 20 observers are asked to observe 72 landscape photographs. The photographs represent 18 different landscapes in Flanders, ranging from urban and multifunctional suburban landscapes to more rural landscapes, differing in degree of urbanisation, openness, heterogeneity and topography. For each site, four pictures are taken: a panoramic photograph (70{\textdegree} horizontal view angle), standard photograph (31{\textdegree}), a detail photograph ({\textlangle} 31{\textdegree}) and a wide angle photograph to determine the influence of the view angle on  the perception of landscape composition. To avoid effects of transparency by vegetation, all photographs are taken in the same season. The respondents are graduate geographers. The measurements are done using an Eye Link 1000 device from SR Research (Ontario). The results are visualised in density maps, showing the intensity of eye fixations on different features in the landscape. Also, saccades are visualised and their length is measured to determine the influence of the complexity of landscapes on the number and length of eye movements.},
  author       = {Dupont, Lien and Ooms, Kristien and Van Eetvelde, Veerle},
  booktitle    = {ECLAS Conference, Abstracts},
  keyword      = {view angle,Flanders,Landscape photographs,everyday landscapes},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Sheffield, UK},
  pages        = {193--194},
  title        = {The use of eye tracking for analysing the perception of landscape composition and vertical objects},
  year         = {2011},
}