Visualization of Environment-related Information in Augmented Reality: Analysis of User Needs
The main motivation for this study was to enable paragliding pilots to use Augmented Reality features during flight. For orientation in the air, paragliding pilots use a map as the main source of information. It is therefore important that the information is presented in the most easily accessible way. The aim of the present study was to investigate the needs of paragliding pilots with respect to maps and the way maps provide them with information about the environment. The participants were three professional paragliding instructors with different amounts of experience. The methods employed involved a semi-structured interview and a practical, real-flight test involving AR glasses; the test was done by only one of the pilots. Two categories of data were identified, with the first involving data related to geographical terrain and the other to the pilot’s immediate surroundings. Our results suggest that an optical see-through display would be more suitable for use in the air than the video-based glasses we utilized. If an optical see-through display were used, the terrain could be seen through the glasses, with terrain-related information displayed in the map. AR could be used to present flight-related information as well. Our findings suggest that the way in which information is presented to pilots should be chosen based on the category of the information, namely, whether it is terrain-related or flight-related. In addition, it was found that the small display in the right corner of the pilot’s field of view is rather distractive and insufficient to fulfill the pilots’ needs. Our results also showed that future AR applications should be designed to be transferable between different platforms: glasses, mobile phones, and tablets.
KeywordsAugmented reality Human-computer interaction User test Map-related information Paragliding Optical see-through display
This research has been supported by funding from the project of Masaryk University under the grant agreement No. MUNI/M/0846/2015, ‘Influence of Cartographic Visualization Methods on the Success of Solving Practical and Educational Spatial Tasks’. We gratefully acknowledge the support and willingness of Dalibor Carbol and his paragliding school El Speedo s.r.o. without which the present study could not have been completed.
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