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Proceedings Paper

Visualization technique for improved situation awareness
Author(s): James D. Walrath; Robert P. Winkler; Philip J. Emmerman; Christoph M. Hoffmann; Young Jun Kim
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Paper Abstract

Military commanders must understand the complexities of the tactical picture, which is made up of many individual entities (microstates) with their own organizational allegiance, capabilities, and attributes. Further, while individual events can occur quickly, a battle can occupy several hours to days. It is inadequate to simply perceive the differentiated data about battlefield entities at some point in time -- the commander must understand the integrated meaning of the entities as they interact across time. We say that the commander is building situation awareness (SA), and doing so using traditional information displays consumes scarce resources of time and cognitive effort. The challenge is to combine the many individual microstates into a few integrated macrostates and display this information to the commander in a way that is instantly meaningful. We suggest a method for reducing the time and cognitive effort necessary to acquire SA by applying principles of visual perception to the design of battlefield visualization displays. Specifically, we exploit the organizational properties of gestalt figures and the phenomenon of global preference to create displays that allow immediate understanding of relevant information on the location, identity, and concentration of friendly and enemy units. The data is then compressed temporally, bringing battle dynamics into a useful time domain.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 June 2000
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 3959, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging V, (2 June 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.387173
Show Author Affiliations
James D. Walrath, Army Research Lab. (United States)
Robert P. Winkler, Army Research Lab. (United States)
Philip J. Emmerman, Army Research Lab. (United States)
Christoph M. Hoffmann, Purdue Univ. (United States)
Young Jun Kim, Purdue Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3959:
Human Vision and Electronic Imaging V
Bernice E. Rogowitz; Thrasyvoulos N. Pappas, Editor(s)

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