Geographic HCI

Our research interests lie at the intersection between HCI, geographic information science (spatial cognition and spatial data) and ubiquitous and pervasive technologies to investigate how to provide users and communities with personalized map-based interfaces of the basis of the specific need and preferences. In particular, focusing on spatial ubiquitous interface technologies, we investigate how people interact with digital spatial data and we create new methods and novel interfaces to help people interact with and make sense of spatial information. This includes the development and evaluation of pervasive sensing system, mobile augmented/virtual reality applications and wearable technologies, interactive surfaces and pervasive public display.

We focus on five main research themes in this domain:

      • Sensing and ubiquitous technologies    
      • New Modes of Interaction with Maps    
      • Information visualization for Spatial Data    
      • Impact of Emerging Geographic Technologies    
      • Inclusion and Accessibility in Spatial-Related Technologies


References to the Research

      • Silva, C., Prandi, C., Nunes, N. J., & Nisi, V. (2020, June). Blue whale street art as a landmark: extracting landmarks from children’s cognitive maps for the design of locative systems. In Proceedings of the Interaction Design and Children Conference(pp. 602-613). ACM.
      • Silva, C., Prandi, C., Ferreira, M., Nisi, V., & Nunes, N. J. (2019). Towards Locative Systems for, and by, Children: A Cognitive Map Study of Children’s Perceptions and Design Suggestions. In Proceedings of the 2019 on Creativity and Cognition (pp. 382-395). Best Pictorial award.
      • Silva, C., Prandi, C., Ferreira, M., Nisi, V., & Nunes, N. J. (2019, June). See the World Through the Eyes of a Child: Learning from children’s cognitive maps for the design of child-targeted locative systems. In Proceedings of the 2019 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference (pp. 763-776). Honorable mention.
      • Colley, A., Thebault-Spieker, J., Lin, A.Y., Degraen, D., Fischman, B., Häkkilä, J., Kuehl, K., Nisi, V., Nunes, N.J., Wenig, N., Wenig, D., Hecht, B. and Schöning, J., 2017, May. The geography of Pokémon GO: beneficial and problematic effects on places and movement. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1179-1192). ACM.
      • Prandi, C., Mirri, S., Ferretti, S. and Salomoni, P., 2017. On the Need of Trustworthy Sensing and Crowdsourcing for Urban Accessibility in Smart City. ACM Transactions on Internet Technology (TOIT), 18(1), p.4.    
      • Mirri, S., Prandi, C., Roccetti, M. and Salomoni, P., 2017. Walking under a Different Sky: Urban Colored Routes for Creative Engagement and Pleasure. International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction, pp.1-12.    
      • Johnson, I., Henderson, J., Perry, C., Schöning, J., & Hecht, B. (2017). Beautiful… but at What Cost?: An Examination of Externalities in Geographic Vehicle Routing. Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, 1(2), 15.
      • Lin, A. Y., Kuehl, K., Schöning, J., & Hecht, B. Understanding “Death by GPS”: A Systematic Analysis of Catastrophic Incidents Associated with Personal Navigation Technologies. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’17). ACM.

Sources to Corroborate the Impact

      • Presentation of our research results in a CiViTAS SATELLITE divulgation event. Online post:…
      • The research and planning department leader of Horários do Funchal can provide positive evidence of the use of our pervasive sensing system to collect data about urban mobility and counting people (Dott. Claudio Mandero,
      • 4 awards: a best-paper award at Mobile HCI, Best cited CHI 2017 paper award, an Honorable Mention at DIS 2019, a Best Pictorial award at C&C 2019.

Project’s dissemination (beyond academia) about children’s independent and sustainable mobility


      • Johannes Schoening
      • Nuno Nunes
      • Catia Prandi
      • Valentina Nisi
      • Sabrina Scuri