Graphic map load is a property of a map quantifying the amount of map content. It indicates the visual complexity of the map and helps cartographers to adapt maps and other geospatial visualizations to accomplish their purpose. Generally, map design needs to enable the user to quickly, comprehensively, and intuitively obtain the relevant spatial information from a map. Especially, this applies in cases like crisis management, immunology and military. However, there are no widely applicable metrics to assess the complexity of cartographic products. This paper evaluates seven simple metrics for graphic map load calculation based on image analytics using the set of 50 various maps on an easily understandable scale of 0–100%. The metrics are compared to values of user-perceived map load survey joined by 62 respondents. All the suggested metrics are designed for calculation with easy-accessible software and therefore suitable for use in any user environment. Metrics utilizing the principle of edge detection have been found suitable for a diversity of geospatial visualizations providing the best results among other metrics.
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