By Sven Fuhrmann, Oleg Komogortsev, Dan Tamir
Abstract: It is often assumed that three-dimensional topographic maps provide more effective route planning, navigation, orientation, and way-finding results than traditional two-dimensional representations. The research reported here investigates whether three-dimensional spatial mappings provide better support for route planning than two-dimensional representations. In a set of experiments performed as part of this research, human subjects were randomly shown either a two- or three-dimensional hologram of San Francisco and were asked to plan a bicycling route between an origin and a destination point. In a second task, participants used these holograms to identify the highest elevation point in the displayed area. The eye-movements of the participants, throughout the process of looking at the geospatial holograms and executing the tasks, were recorded. The eye-tracking metrics analysis indicates with a high statistical level of confidence that three-dimensional holographic maps enable more efficient route planning. In addition, the research group is developing a new algorithm to analyze the differences between participant-selected routes and a set of “good routes.” The algorithm employs techniques used to represent the boundary of objects and methods for assessing the difference between objects in modern digital image recognition, image registration, and image alignment applications. The overall goal is to create a theoretical framework for investigating and quantifying route planning effectiveness.