Maps, Space-time Cubes, and Meta-Information for Under-standing Path Information: A Comparative Analysis

Bisantz, A.1, D’Arcy, J.1, Kerker, D.1, Hegde, S.1, Guan, P.1, Voshell, M.2, and Kilgore, R.2

The 58th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Chicago, IL (October 2014)

Two experiments were conducted to investigate the usefulness of different geospatial representations in interpreting paths and activities of individuals moving through a complex spatial environment. Three-dimensional “space-time cubes” were compared to more traditional two-dimensional map displays both with and without animation/playback of the movements. Additionally, we investigated whether or not providing overlaid meta-information about individuals’ possible locations in between known (“sensed”) locations would improve performance. Results indicated that there were no advantages to, and some indications of increased workload, due to the 3D representation, perhaps because of challenges in interpreting the third (time) dimension. However, providing meta-information about possible locations supported performance when it was necessary for participants to recognize potential meetings or other events that did not occur at sensed locations. Geospatial displays used to support interpretation of movement tracking (e.g., for use in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance applications) should compute and provide meta-information about possible paths between sensed locations. Additionally, if a third (time) dimension is included, additional training and support may be required.

University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Charles River Analytics


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