Journal of Geographic Information System, 2012, 4, 393-402 Published Online October 2012 (
Mouse-Sensitive Following Path Suggestion for Drawing
Travel Routes in Web Map Systems
Pablo Martinez Lerin1, Dai suke Yamamoto1,2, Naohisa Takahashi1
1Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Nagoya Institute of Technology, Nagoya, Japan
2Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo, Japan
Received July 1, 2012; revised July 31, 2012; accepted August 28, 2012
This paper proposes a web map system for drawing an arbitrary travel route using a mouse-sensitive following path
suggestion. The interaction model of the system allows users to intuitively understand the sequence of user actions
needed to draw a conceived route and reduces the number of user actions required. Moreover, the system allows users
to understand at a glance several drawing alternatives (static suggestion) and also consider a particular drawing alterna-
tive (dynamic suggestion) without making any commitment. The proposed architecture of the system reduces the influ-
ence caused by communication delay between a map server and a web client by delivering in advance road network
data from a map server to a web client. Experimental evaluations on a prototype we developed demonstrated that the
proposed system enables users to draw arbitrary routes within noticeably less clicks, in less time, and with less stress
than previous systems.
Keywords: Computer-Aided Route Drawing; Following Path; Web Map System; GIS
1. Introduction
People have come to rely on web map systems to draw
and plan travel routes for recreational purposes (e.g.,
driving, walking, and running), because up-to-date rec-
ommendations and information are shown, precise travel
information, such as length, duration, altitude, calories,
and fuel cost is provided, and the routes can be immedi-
ately shared and published.
Since routes for recreational purposes are usually arbi-
trary and very different from the shortest path, web map
systems such as Google Maps [1] that generate the
shortest route between two given points are not suitable.
Popular web map systems tailored for recreational
purposes such as MapMyRun [2] allow a user to pro-
gressively draw from a given origin an arbitrary route
conceived by the user. In these systems, users select
many points, called milestones, of the conceived route by
successively clicking over a map screen. Each time users
select a new milestone, the system generates and draws
the path of roads that continues the route drawn thus far
and reaches the new milestone.
The main problem of these systems is that users see
the newly generated path only after selecting a milestone.
Therefore, users often draw undesired roads and have to
consciously fix or undo them. This increases the stress on
the users as well as the time and number of clicks re-
quired to draw a route.
We propose a web map system for drawing travel
routes with mouse-sensitive path suggestions that solves
the problem mentioned above and reduces consumption
time, the number of mouse operations, and stress on the
user. The key idea is to suggest a path as the mouse
moves, thereby allowing users to understand the result of
selecting a milestone without making any commitment.
This idea is supported by works that point out the impor-
tance in design tools of the ability to interact in ways that
require as little commitment as possible [3].
The contributions of this paper are as follows.
We present an interaction model for the proposed
system that allows users to identify naturally suitable
milestones. The insight of this interaction model is
based on studies that suggest that humans identify
turns when naturally describing a conceived travel
route [4-6].
We present an implementation method for the pro-
posed system that allows a path suggestion to be re-
freshed as the mouse moves in web map systems.
We demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed
system by means of experimental evaluations of a
prototype of the proposed system.
This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 describes
existing web systems and research pertaining to route
planning. Section 3 provides an overview of the proposed
opyright © 2012 SciRes. JGIS
system. In Sections 4 and 5, the features of the proposed
system are described in detail. Section 6 discusses the
evaluation of the proposed system. Finally, conclusions
are given in Section 7.
2. Related Work
There are many web-based systems for drawing travel
routes, most of which being mashup applications. They
are classified into two kinds of systems: route selection
and route drawing systems.
Route selection systems generate a route that opti-
mizes time, length, or complexity between two points
based on pre-defined user preferences [1,7]. After the
route is generated and presented on a map screen, these
systems usually allow users to slightly modify the route
by dragging the trace with the mouse. While dragging is
useful for the addition of a few waypoints, it is not suit-
able for the definition of each road of a route.
The problem of route generation by the aforemen-
tioned route selection systems has been studied exten-
sively, including point-to-point route optimization [8,9]
and route selection based on user-defined preferences
[10-12]. Some researchers have suggested that modeling
the preferences for travel routes is difficult [13,14]. In-
deed, human travel behavior is difficult to understand or
predict [15]. Some route selection systems obtain user
preferences by using the user’s past trips [14,16].
Route selection systems are different from the pro-
posed system in that users cannot generate an arbitrary
route, and users must provide in advance the travel des-
tination, preferences and perhaps past trips.
Route drawing systems, as mentioned in Section 1, al-
low users to draw an imagined route progressively from a
given origin by selecting consecutive milestone points on
a map screen. There are some basic route drawing sys-
tems that simply draw a straight line between a selected
milestone and the previous milestone [17,18]. Although
these basic systems allow users to generate an arbitrary
route, the main difference with the proposed system is
that the generated route is not useful for navigation (for
example, to receive turn-by-turn driving instructions),
because it is not mapped to the underlying road network.
Many route drawing systems include a function called
follow roads that relies on the underlying road network
[2,19,20]. When the function is used, the route drawing
system draws the roads that form the shortest path be-
tween a selected milestone and the previous milestone.
Route drawing systems are very flexible because, when
selecting milestones that are very close to each other,
users can choose arbitrary roads, and when selecting
milestones that are very far apart, users can generate a
large route quickly. Users face two main problems when
drawing an arbitrary travel route using the follow roads
function. 1) Because it is difficult and unnatural for hu-
mans to decompose a route into shortest paths, users may
end up selecting milestones very close to each other, for
example, each intersection. 2) Because it is difficult for
users to predict the path that the system will generate
after selecting a milestone, users may draw undesired
roads, and as a result, have to consciously fix or undo
In our previous work we proposed a travel route editor
that includes a route drawing system [21]. The system
includes a preliminary version of a Following Path sug-
gestion which does not include many parts of the features
proposed in this paper.
Many web map systems include a function that allows
users to upload and plot their travel logs (e.g., GPS loca-
tions). Although this function allows users to generate an
arbitrary route according to their travel logs, the main
difference with the proposed system is that it requires
that users travel the route beforehand.
3. Mouse-Sensitive Path Suggestion for
Route Drawing in Web Map Systems
3.1. Drawing Model
In this subsection, we describe the drawing model of the
proposed system that uses mouse-sensitive path sugges-
tions. Hereinafter, we refer to the concepts of a road
network and of a link defined as follows.
Road network. A directed graph in which the vertices
are road intersections and each directed edge, called link,
is a section of a road between two neighboring road in-
The drawing model allows users to draw a travel route
composed of complete links connected in a road network.
Currently available road networks often include links
within parks and other recreational areas. We believe that
the system can be easily extended to allow drawing of
off-road sections and partial links.
The drawing model follows the five steps in Figure 1
that allow users to draw a conceived travel route by in-
teracting with the mouse on a map screen. After specify-
ing the origin in step 1, the user considers several draw-
ing alternatives, without making any commitment, as
follows. In step 2, the user requests the system to suggest
a path that continues from the last drawn intersection (the
head) and reaches a link (the milestone) that is farther
along the conceived travel route, as shown in Figure 2(a).
In step 3, the system answers the request by displaying a
suggested path, and in step 4, the user considers whether
the suggested path matches the desired path, i.e., the path
in the conceived travel route from the head to the mile-
stone. In case it matches, as shown in Figure 2(b), the
user accepts and confirms the suggested path in step 5. In
case it does not match, as shown in Figure 2(c), the user
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JGIS
P. M. LERIN ET AL. 395
Accept Reject
STEP 4. The user considers whether to accept or
reject the suggested path.
STEP 3.The system suggests a path from the last
drawn intersection to the milestone.
STEP 2. The user specifies a link, referred to as
a milestone, by moving the mouse cursor to its
location on the map.
STEP 1. The user specifies the origin
intersection (e.g., by clicking on the map).
STEP 5. The user confirms the suggested path
(e.g., by clicking on the map), and it is added to
the travel route being drawn.
Figure 1. Drawing model of the proposed system.
(b) Step4: A suggested pathmatches a desired path.
(c) Step4: A suggested pathdoes not match a desired path.
(a) Step2: The user requests a suggested path.
Travel route drawn thus far
Conceived travel route
Mouse cursor
Suggested path
Desired path
Figure 2. Path suggestion for a conceived travel route.
rejects the suggested path and requests a new one by just
moving again the mouse, returning to step 2.
3.2. Proposed Features
Having described the drawing model, in this subsection,
we discuss the requirements of the proposed system as
well as proposed solutions in the context of web map
In web map systems, users interact with a web client
that represents roads on a map screen composed of map
images. The web client usually does not contain map
data because such data takes a large amount of space, is
often updated and is a valuable resource. Instead, the web
client makes requests through the Internet to map servers
that provide scalar map data (e.g., images of raster maps)
and vector map data (e.g., coordinates that define roads),
as shown in Figure 3.
We identify the following requirements for the pro-
posed system.
R1. Intuitive Path Suggestion
The system should generate a path suggestion that al-
lows users to find intuitively a suitable milestone, i.e., a
milestone that makes a suggested path should match a
desired path. This would minimize the number of path
suggestions that users need to consider before making a
R2. Long Path Suggestion
The system should be able to generate a suggested
path that can match a long desired path. This would
minimize the number of path suggestions that users need
to confirm to draw a travel route.
R3. Quick Generation of a Path Suggestion
The system refreshes the suggested path as the user
moves the mouse. The system should generate a sug-
gested path quickly enough to ensure that stress is not
placed on users.
A naive path suggestion that allows users to draw the
shortest path from the head to the intersection nearest to
the mouse location fulfills requirement R2 but not R1.
This is because, for humans, it is not intuitive to decom-
pose a travel route into long shortest paths. A naive path
suggestion that allows users to draw only the next link
after the head fulfills requirement R1 but not R2. This is
because users have to draw the travel route link by link.
A naive implementation method that requests a sugges-
tion from the map server every time the mouse moves
does not fulfill requirement R3 because the client–server
interactions may take a long time.
To satisfy the above requirements, we propose (1) a
path suggestion, referred to as a Mouse-sensitive Fol-
lowing Path Suggestion, with features F1 and F2, and (2)
a method of implementing the proposed path suggestion
in web map systems, with feature F3. The features are
outlined below, and described in detail in the next two
F1. Two-Level Following Path
In response to the requirements R1 and R2, a Two-
level Following Path is used as a suggested path so that
users can intuitively find a suitable mileston e simply by
Vector map
(HTTP protocol)
Scalar map
Figure 3. Basic architecture of a web map system.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JGIS
identifying the next turn after the head in the conceived
travel route. A Two-level Following Path can be long
because it includes the entire path from the head to its
next turn. In fact, it also includes the next link after the
turn, so it becomes even longer.
F2. Two-Layer Preview
In response to requirement R1, a Two-layer Preview
function displays a path suggestion composed of (1) a
static layer that allows users to understand at a glance all
the possible turns after the head and (2) a dynamic layer
that allows users to consider a Two-level Following Path
to one particular turn.
F3. Speculative Prefetching
In response to requirement R3, and considering that
Internet communications may be delayed unpredictably,
a Speculative Prefetching function minimizes the client-
server interactions by delivering to the client in advance
road network data that may be needed to generate a sug-
gestion. Moreover, the function delivers the road data in
a data structure called a Following Path Tree, which al-
lows a Two-level Following Path to be generated very
4. Mouse-Sensitive Following Path
In this section, we describe the proposed path suggestion,
which is composed of a static layer and a dynamic layer.
The layers are defined by the Two-layer Preview func-
tion using the concepts of a Following Path and a
Two-level Following Path.
4.1. Following Path
In the context of travel routes, a Following Path is con-
sidered a path between two consecutive turns of a travel
route, where a turn is an intersection along the travel
route where the traveler must change orientation and
explicitly switch to a different road. Each link in a Fol-
lowing Path is considered the Following Link of its
predecessor link.
Below we give formal definitions of the concepts Fol-
lowing Path and Following Link using the FL ink function
as follows.
Function FLink (L,G). Given a link L and a road net-
work G, the function returns a link computed by obeying
the rules prescribed below. When no link obeys the rules,
the function returns NULL. Let us consider L1–LN as the
N links that are connected to L and belong to G. Further,
let us denote by αi the deviation (angle) between the links
L and Li, as shown in Figure 4.
Rule 1. When the deviation αi between L and Li is the
smallest among the deviations αk (1 k N) between L
and the connected links and αi < αmax, the function returns
Li, as shown in Figure 4. The angle αmax is a system pa-
rameter that avoids selecting a link that humans would
consider a turn.
Rule 2. When the length of the link Li is less than l0,
we assume that the links connected to Li are directly
connected to L, as shown in Figure 5. The short length l0
is a system parameter that determines when a link is too
short. Very short links indicate misalignments, as shown
in Figure 6, for which the function FLink(L,G) uses rule
2 to return the link LS.
In the prototype system, we defined the parameters
αmax = 40˚ and l0 = 5 m, after performing experimental
tests with our road network data. A small change in the
parameters would not significantly affect the result of the
Following Link. A link LF is the Following Link of a
link L in a road network G if and only if FLink(L,G) = LF.
A link in a road network may have one Following Link or
Following Path. A path P of connected links, P = (L1,
L2, ... LN), in a road network G is considered a Following
Path if and only if each link is Following Link of its
predecessor, i.e., FLink(Lj,G) = Li , i = j – 1, 1< j N.
Figure 4. Deviation (angle ) between the link L and the links
connected to L.
these links
to L
(< l
to L
Figure 5. Rule 2 of function FLink.
Map image Road network
Figure 6. Example of a slightly misaligned intersection.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JGIS
P. M. LERIN ET AL. 397
The defined concepts are extensions of concepts used
in the Following Path Algorithm, which was proposed in
our previous work [22].
4.2. Two-Level Following Path
A Two-level Following Path is a path composed of a
Following Path and a link connected to the Following
Path. When used as a suggestion, it allows users to draw
any Following Path followed by any link, i.e., it allows
users to draw the path from the last drawn intersection to
the next turn and the direction of the turn.
Given an intersection, the head, and a mouse location
(a location on a map screen), a Two-level Following Path
is defined as follows. First, let us consider the concepts
reachable links and milestone.
Reachable Links: All links in a road network whose
start intersection can be reached from the head by a Fol-
lowing Path.
Milestone: The link of the reachable links that is
nearest to the mouse location.
Two-level Follo wing Path: The path composed of (1)
the Follo wing Path from the head to the start intersection
of the milestone and (2) the milestone. When the head is
the start intersection of the milestone, the Two-level Fol-
lowing Path is composed of only the milestone.
The topology of the road network may make the gen-
eration of a path ambiguous; for example, when two
reachable links have the same shape points in opposite
directions (although this is a very unusual case). When
more than one path can be generated, the shortest path is
chosen, where the length of a path is the sum of the
length of its links. When used as a suggestion, if the
chosen path is not the desired one, the user only needs to
move the mouse to a link closer to head.
Mapping the given mouse location to a link, instead of
an intersection, allows users to choose between two dif-
ferent Two-level Following Paths that reach the same
intersection, which is a common case. Figure 7 shows
snapshots of two paths that reach the same intersection
displayed over a road network.
4.3. Two-Layer Preview
A Two-layer Preview function displays a path suggestion
in two layers: a static layer and a dynamic layer. Both
layers are always displayed on the map screen, in a dif-
ferent way so that users can distinguish them (e.g., in dif-
ferent colors). A static layer allows users to understand at
a glance all the possible turns after the last drawn point,
the head, and is refreshed only when the head is updated.
A dynamic layer allows users to consider a Two-level
Following Path to one particular turn, and is refreshed
every time the mouse location is updated. Figure 8 shows
the two stages displayed over a road network.
Below we define the contents of each layer. Let us
consider the system parameter maxSize that defines a
limit on the number of links of a path suggestion. The
maxSize parameter should have a value that allows users
to draw a long Two-level Following Path, for example,
from one side of the map screen to the other.
Static Layer: All Possible Following Paths.
Given an intersection head, the static layer is com-
posed of the Following Path in a road network that starts
from each link connected to the head and continues until
the path reaches a link that has no Following Link or until
the path reaches maxSize links.
Dynamic Layer: A Two-Level Following Path.
Given an intersection head and a mouse location, the
dynamic layer is composed of the Two-level Following
Path, where the path cannot be longer than maxSize links.
5. Speculative Prefetching
In this section, we describe the proposed function for
implementing a Mouse-sensitive Following Path Sugges-
tion. First, we define the data structure and methods used
by the function and then we describe the behavior of the
5.1. Following Path Tree
In this subsection, we define the Following Path Tree
(FPT) data structure, and explain methods for building
and mining an FPT. Let us consider the concepts Follow-
ing Link and Following Path defined in subsection 4.1.
Travel route drawn thus far
Mouse cursor
Suggested path
Figure 7. Snapshots of a suggested two-level following path.
Travel route drawn thus far
Mouse cursor
Static layer
Dynamic layer
Figure 8. Example of the result of a two-layer preview.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JGIS
Following Path Tree (FPT): an FPT is a tree struc-
ture composed of a root and a set of nodes pNode. An
FPT contains the road network data needed to generate
the static layer and all possible dynamic layers of a
Mouse-sensitive Following Path Suggestion from a given
intersection, the head, considering the system parameter
pNode: a pNode is a node in an FPT; it contains the
following attributes.
Type: the type can be FollowNode or TurnNode.
Link: data of a link, which includes a link identifier
and a sequence of coordinates (longitude, latitude)
that defines its shape.
Children: an association to a set of child nodes.
In an FPT, a pNode can have only one parent and a
link cannot be in more than one pNode. The nodes in an
FPT are related as follows. 1) A child’s link is connected
to its parent’s link in a road network. 2) The link of a
child of type FollowNode is the Following Link of its
parent’s link in a road network.
Method BuildFPT.
Given the head and maxSize, an FPT is built as fol-
Step 1. A pNode of type FollowNode is made and
added to the FPT with each link from the Following
Paths that start from the head. Each Following Path con-
tinues until a link that has no Following Link has been
reached or maxSize -1 links have been reached.
Step 2. A pNode is made and added to the FPT with
each link that is not already in the FPT and is connected
to a link added in the step 1.
An example of a built FPT (with maxSize = 3) is
shown in Figure 9. The links contained in the FPT are
represented by arrows on the road network (above). The
pNodes of the FPT are represented by squares, and its
relations are represented by arrows (below). Colored
squares represent the pNodes of type FollowNode. For
simplicity, only some links are labeled.
Method MineAllFP .
Given an FPT, the static layer of a Mouse-sensitive
Following Path Suggestion is generated by drawing the
link of each pNode of type FollowNode in the FPT.
Method Mine2LFP.
Given an FPT and a mouse location, a dynamic layer
of a Mouse-sensitive Following Path Suggestion, i.e., a
Two-level Following Path, is generated as follows. First,
the pNode in the FPT whose link is nearest to the mouse
location is searched. Then, the dynamic layer is gener-
ated by drawing the link of the found pNode and the links
of all its ascendant pNodes in the FPT.
5.2. Data Flow in Speculative Prefetching
In this subsection, we first describe the structure of the
Speculative Prefetching function, and then explain its
The structure of the Speculative Prefetching function
is composed of two data sets and three methods, as
shown in Figure 10. The web client contains a data set
composed of a Following Path Three (FPT), and exe-
cutes the two methods that mine the FPT. The map server
contains a data set composed of the available road net-
work data and executes the method to build an FPT.
The described function responds to two events: when
the last drawn point, the head, is updated, and when the
mouse location is updated. Considering the drawing steps
described in Section 3, the last drawn point is updated
when the user specifies the start intersection (step 1), and
when the user confirms a path suggestion (step 5). The
mouse location is updated when the user moves the
mouse to consider a new path suggestion (step 3). Below
we describe the data flow for each event.
DF1. Event Head Updated.
First, an FPT is prefetched as follows. The web client
sends a request to the map server sending the new head.
The method BuildFPT in the map server generates an
Figure 9. Example of a built FPT, including its links repre-
sented on a road network (above) and the relation of its
nodes (below ).
Head FPT
Head Mouse
Suggest i on
(dynamic layer)
Road network
Suggest i on
(static layer)
Build FPT
MineAllFP Mine2LFP
Figure 10. Overview of speculative prefetching.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JGIS
P. M. LERIN ET AL. 399
FPT by using the stored road network data and the re-
ceived head. The map server replies, sending the gener-
ated FPT, and the web client stores it, replacing the pre-
vious FTP.
Then, the method MineAllFP in the web client gener-
ates the static layer of the proposed path suggestion, i.e.,
All Possible Following Paths, by using the stored FPT.
DF2. Event Mouse Location Updated.
The method Mine2LFP in the web client generates the
dynamic layer of the proposed path suggestion, i.e., A
Two-level Following Path Suggestion, by using the
stored FPT and the new mouse location. If an FPT is
being prefetched, this event waits to occur.
The described function performs prefetching because
it delivers road network data to the web client before it is
required and performs speculation, because it delivers
data that may be not actually used. As a result, a
Two-level Following Path Suggestion is generated with-
out requiring client–server interactions over the Internet.
6. Evaluation
6.1. Prototype System
We evaluated the usability of the proposed system by
using a prototype web map system. We developed the
map server using Java Servlets and the web client using
Adobe Flash Builder 4. The web client is composed of a
toolbar and a map screen, as shown in Figure 11, where
a travel route is being drawn using the proposed system
(the key is the same as in Figure 8). Users change the
map scale using the mouse wheel, and pan the map by
dragging the mouse, in a way similar to conventional
web map systems such as Google Maps.
The developed prototype allows users to draw a con-
ceived travel route by using one of the following sys-
Figure 11. Screenshot of our prototype system.
Baseline System (One Link Suggestion System).
The system uses a naive mouse-sensitive suggestion
such that users draw a travel route link by link. This
system can be implemented by using the proposed
system and setting maxSize to 0.
Previous System (Shortest Path Drawing System).
The system allows users to draw the shortest path
from the last drawn point to a clicked point (mile-
stone). The system does not use a mouse-sensitive
suggestion, i.e., the roads are drawn only after users
click. The system uses the same interaction as in
popular route drawing systems such as MapMyRun [2]
described in Section 2.
Proposed System (Following Path Suggestion Sys-
tem). This is the proposed system (with maxSize =
30). We chose the parameter maxSize after doing em-
pirical tests on a common map screen (width: 1024 px,
map scale: 1:40,000) which concluded that, in areas
with dense road networks (cities), the Following
Paths that reach from one side of the map screen to
the other have an average of 30 links.
When using the baseline system and the proposed sys-
tem in our prototype, users interact as follows. The user
clicks the mouse on the map screen in order to specify
the origin point and confirm a suggestion. The user then
moves the mouse over the map screen in order to con-
sider a suggestion. Finally, the user can click a button on
the toolbar in order to undo the last user action.
When using the previous system in our prototype, us-
ers interact as follows. The user clicks the mouse on the
map screen in order to specify the origin point and spec-
ify a milestone. The user clicks a button in the toolbar in
order to undo the last user action.
We included in the evaluation the baseline system as a
reference to help compare the proposed system with the
previous system.
6.2. Experiment
We conducted the following experiment in order to
compare the three systems. We gave sketch routes on
paper to subjects, and asked them to draw the routes us-
ing the prototype.
A sketch route is very similar to a mental representa-
tion of a route [5,6,23]. A sketch route is composed of
arrows for roads, colored shapes for parks and rivers, and
verbal annotations for the descriptions of buildings, as
shown in Figure 12. In order to draw a sketch route in a
web map system, users find the start point and the suc-
cessive milestones by relating the information in the
sketch route to the information on the map screen, for
example, the name of a building or a turn. If a user draws
the same sketch route twice, the process would possibly
be easier the second time because the user would re-
member the information presented on the map screen.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JGIS
Figure 12. A sketch route used in the experiment.
In the experiment, we used three sketch routes from
large cities in Japan that were unfamiliar to the subjects.
Table 1 lists these sketch routes.
The experiment was performed by 21 university stu-
dents. Each sketch route was drawn 21 times, 7 times for
each system. We ensured that a person did not draw the
same route twice. In addition, we randomized the order
of the systems used by a subject. Further, subjects prac-
ticed using the systems for 5 min beforehand. The sub-
jects performed the tasks using different desktop com-
puters with Internet connections and always having the
same map screen size (1024 × 768 px).
We compared the systems with respect to the follow-
ing three metrics.
1) Number of operations required to draw a route. An
operation is considered a click on the map screen or a
click on the undo button on the toolbar.
2) Time elapsed since a subject starts drawing a route
until the route is completely drawn.
3) Questionnaire. After the experiment, subjects an-
swered the following questions based on the five-point
Likert scale; here, 5 is “strongly agree”, and 1 is “strongly
The questionnaire included the following questions:
Learnability. Is it easy to learn to use the system?
Table 1. Sketch routes used in the e xperiment.
City Length (km) Number of links Number of turns
Route1 Sapporo 4.5 84 30
Route2 Naha 4 79 25
Route3 Takamatsu 3.5 64 28
Usability. Is it easy to draw a route with the system?
Lightness. Is the response of the system fast?
Stress. Do you feel stressed when using the system?
6.3. Results
Figures 13 and 14 show the results for of the average
number of operations and the average amount of time
required to draw each route, respectively, using each
system under evaluation.
The results clearly that, on average, users using the
baseline system complete a task using a higher number of
clicks than users using the other two systems. However,
the amount of time required to complete a task using the
baseline system is not so different from the other two
systems, which suggests that users require more time to
choose a long path than to choose a path composed of
only one link. Considering the proposed system and the
previous system, the results show that, on average, users
using the proposed system complete a task using 34%
less clicks and 18% less time than users using the previ-
ous system. The results for the number of clicks were
statistically significant at 5% level by the Student’s
t-Test. The results for the amount of time were not statis-
tically significant, because the time required to draw a
route varies according to the skills of the user.
Figure 15 shows the results of the questionnaire, i.e.,
the average of the answers for each of the four questions
for each of the three systems under evaluation.
route1 route2 route3
Baseline systemPrevious systemProposed system
Figure 13. Average number of operations required to draw
a route.
route1 route2 route3
Baseline systemPrevious systemProposed system
Figure 14. Average amount of time (in minutes) required to
draw a r oute.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JGIS
P. M. LERIN ET AL. 401
htness Stress
Baseline systemPrevious systemProposed system
Figure 15. Questionnaire results.
The questionnaire results show that users draw a con-
ceived travel route more easily and with less stress when
using the proposed system than when using the other two
systems. The baseline system clearly causes more stress,
which suggests the idea that a high number of operations
cause stress even if they are easy operations. The results
also suggest that the three systems are very easy to learn
to use (learnability) and provide a pleasant response to
the mouse interaction (lightness).
The three sketch routes are different in length, have
different numbers of links and turns, and are in different
cities. Since the three sketch routes present very similar
results, we believe that the presented results would apply
to other routes.
7. Conclusions
This paper presented the interaction model, interface, and
architecture of a web map system for drawing arbitrary
travel routes with a mouse-sensitive following path sug-
gestion. Experimental evaluations indicate that the pro-
posed system enables users to draw travel routes with
34% less clicks, in 18% less time and with noticeably
less stress than previous systems.
In future work, we intend to combine the mouse-sen-
sitive suggestion with (1) verbal descriptions that de-
scribe semantics related with the route being drawn as
proposed in [24] and (2) dynamic GIS information valu-
able for planning (e.g., expected traffic and popular
roads). Moreover, we intend to combine the proposed
interface with a focus + glue + context map system to
help users understand the map and draw roads. A fo-
cus+glue+context map system is a multi-scale map sys-
tem that represents several areas of a map screen at dif-
ferent map scales without distortion [22,25]. Lack of
distortion is required to enable users to understand the
topology of roads when drawing.
8. Acknowledgements
We would like to thank Yahoo! Japan Corporation for
supporting us in the development of the prototype system.
This work was also supported by JSPS KAKENHI
20509003 and 23500084.
[1] Google Maps, 2012.
[2] MapMyRun, 2012.
[3] K. Nakakoji, Y. Yamamoto, S. Takada and B. N. Reeves,
“Two-Dimensional Spatial Positioning as a Means for
Reflection in Design,” In: D. Boyarski and W. A. Kellogg,
Eds., Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Designing
Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, and
Techniques (DIS’00), New York, 2000, pp. 145-154.
[4] M. Denis, “The Description of Routes: A Cognitive Ap-
proach to the Production of Spatial Discourse,” Current
Psychology of Cognition, Vol. 16, No. 4, 1997, pp. 409-
[5] B. Tversky and P. Lee, “How Space Structures Lan-
guage,” In: C. Freksa, C. Habel and K. F. Wender, Eds.,
Spatial Cognition, An Interdisciplinary Approach to Re-
presenting and Processing Spatial Knowledge, Springer-
Verlag, London, 1998, pp. 157-176.
[6] B. Tversky and P. Lee, “Pictorial and Verbal Tools for
Conveying Routes,” In: C. Freksa, C. Habel and K. F.
Wender, Eds., Proceedings of the International Confer-
ence on Spatial Information Theory: Cognitive and Compu-
tational Foundations of Geographic Information Science
(COSIT’99), Springer-Verlag, London, 1999, pp. 51-64.
[7] Bing Maps, 2012.
[8] P. Sanders and D. Schultes, “Engineering Fast Route
Planning Algorithms,” In: C. Demetrescu, Ed., Proceed-
ings of the 6th International Conference on Experimental
Algorithms (WEA’07), Springer-Verlag, Berlin and Hei-
delberg, 2007, pp. 23-36.
[9] K.-F. Richter and M. Duckham, “Simplest Instructions:
Finding Easy-to-Describe Routes for Navigation,” Pro-
ceedings of the 5th International Conference on Geo-
graphic Information Science (GIScience’08), Park City,
23-26 September 2008, pp. 274-289.
[10] H. H. Hochmair, “Optimal Route Selection with Route
Planners: Results of a Desktop Usability Study,” Pro-
ceedings of the 15th Annual ACM International Sympo-
sium on Advances in Geographic Information Systems
(GIS’07), Seattle, 7-9 November 2007, pp. 41-44.
[11] H. H. Hochmair and C. Rinner, “Investigating the Need
for Eliminatory Constraints in the User Interface of Bicy-
cle Route Planners,” In: A. G. Cohn and D. M. Mark,
Eds., Proceedings of the 2005 International Conference
on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT’05), Springer-
Verlag, Berlin and Heidelberg, 2005, pp. 49-66.
[12] H. H. Hochmair, “Towards a Classification of Route Se-
lection Criteria for Route Planning Tools,” Springer, Ber-
lin, 2004.
[13] L. McGinty and B. Smyth, “Turas: A Personalised Route
Planning System,” In: R. Mizoguchi and J. Slaney, Eds.,
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JGIS
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JGIS
Proceedings of the 6th Pacific Rim International Confer-
ence on Artificial Intelligence (PRICAI’00), Springer-Verlag,
Berlin and Heidelberg, 2000, pp. 791-791.
[14] J. Letchner, J. Krumm and E. Horvitz, “Trip Router with
Individualized Preferences (TRIP): Incorporating Person-
alization into Route Planning,” In: B. Porter, Ed., Pro-
ceedings of the 18th Conference on Innovative Applica-
tions of Artificial Intelligence-Volume 2 (IAAI’06), AAAI
Press, Palo Alto, 2006, pp. 1795-1800
[15] R. G. Golledge and T. Gärling, “Spatial Behavior in
Transportation Modeling and Planning,” In: K. Goulias,
Ed., Transportation and Engineering Handbook, 2001.
[16] Y. Zheng and X. Xie, “Learning Travel Recommenda-
tions from User-generated GPS Traces,” ACM Transac-
tions on Intelligent Systems and Technology, Vol. 2, No.
1, 2011, pp. 1-29.
[17] USA Track & Field, 2012.
[18] RunningMap, 2012.
[19] Bikely, 2012.
[20] iFit, 2012.
[21] P. M. Lerin, D. Yamamoto and N. Takahashi, “A Travel
Route Editor on a Focus+Glue+Context Map,” Proceed-
ings of the 1st International Workshop on Pervasive Web
Mapping, Geoprocessing and Services (WEBMGS 2010),
Como, 26-27 August 2010.
[22] D. Yamamoto, S. Ozeki and N. Takahashi, “Focus+
Glue+Context: An Improved Fisheye Approach for Web
Map Services,” Proceedings of the 17th ACM SIGSPA-
TIAL International Conference on Advances in Geo-
graphic Information Systems, Seattle, 2009, pp. 101-110.
[23] B. Tversky, “Distortions in Cognitive Maps,” GeoForum,
Vol. 23, No. 2, 1992, pp. 131-138.
[24] P. Martinez Lerin, D. Yamamoto and N. Takahashi,
“Making a Pictorial and Verbal Travel Trace from a GPS
Trace,” Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium
on Web and Wireless Geographical Information Systems
(W2GIS 2012), Springer, 2012, pp. 98-115.
[25] N. Takahashi, “An Elastic Map System with Cognitive
Map-based Operations,” In: M. P. Peterson, Ed., Interna-
tional Perspectives on Maps and Internet, Lecture Notes
in Geoinformation and Cartography, Springer-Verlag,
Berlin, 2008, pp. 73-87.