Bias in geographic information systems: The case of Google maps

Ben Wagner, Till Winkler, Soheil Human

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Users' perception of geographic space depends heavily on geographic information systems (GIS). GIS are the most common way for users to estimate travel time, provide routing information and recommend appropriate forms of transportation. This article analyses how predictions made by Google Maps, one of the most popular GIS, influence users' perceptions and travel choices. To analyze this influence, a pre-study in a classroom setting (n=36) as well as an online survey (n=521) were conducted. We study users intuitive perception of travel time, before using the Google Maps Mobile App as a'treatment' to see how it influences their perceptions of travel time and choice of transportation type. We then contrast this original Google Maps treatment to a mock-up'warning label version' of Google which informs users about biases in Google Maps and an'unbiased version' of Google Maps based on ground truth data. Our analysis suggests that Google Maps systematically underestimates necessary car driving time, which has an impact on users' choice of transportation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 54th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2021
EditorsTung X. Bui
PublisherIEEE
Pages837-846
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780998133140
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event54th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 4 Jan 20218 Jan 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Volume2020-January
ISSN (Print)1530-1605

Conference

Conference54th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period4/01/218/01/21

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