Cognitive Load Study Using Increasingly Immersive Levels of Map-based Information Portrayal on the End User Device

Report No. ARL-TR-6132
Authors: Elizabeth S. Redden, William Harris, David Miller, and Daniel D. Turner
Date/Pages: September 2012; 74 pages
Abstract: This study was an investigation of the effect of the four different types of maps (2-D north up [2D-NU] map; 2-D rotating [2D-R], course up map; third-person perspective [3PP] map; and an augmented reality [AR] display) on map-based task performance and cognitive load. Thirty-one Soldiers from the Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, GA, and one Staff Sergeant participated in the study. Each Soldier completed four scenarios; one with each of the four different types of maps. Performance was evaluated based on objective performance data, data collector observations, and Soldier questionnaires. Although the 2D-NU map was preferred by the most Soldiers, generally their performance and self-reported cognitive workload ratings with the 2D-R and the 3PP maps were not significantly worse than with the 2D-NU. All four maps types offered certain advantages, depending on the situation and terrain and should be further examined in a live experiment. It is possible that all four map types should be included on an end user device (EUD) so that Soldiers can choose the map based upon the situation and their preferences or so that they can move between maps when the situation warrants.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2012