The Human Dimension of Battlespace Visualization: Research and Design Issues

Report No. ARL-TR-2885
Authors: Michael J. Barnes
Date/Pages: February 2003; 40 pages
Abstract: The purpose of the report was to explore the human dimension of battlefield visualization in order to generate design principles and suggest future research topics. The author reviewed cognitive engineering research sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, other military related research, and pertinent open literature publications. A descriptive model of visualization is discussed in terms of the ability of the commander to understand the current combat situation, generate courses of action (COAs) and predict COA results. Specific topics covered as part of situation understanding included terrain visualization, situation displays that use symbology, techniques for abstract visualizations, and multi-media knowledge walls. Military decision-making research was reviewed in order to explore specific topics related to the commander?s ability to use visualization tools to predict combat results. Based on the reviewed research, the author discusses design principles for the following issues: Dimensionality, slant range, degree of terrain immersion, and virtual environments Methods of combining terrain views Limitations of and ways to enhance military symbology Configural, narrative, and pattern recognition advantages of abstract displays Operator-derived principles for knowledge walls Uncertainty representation, trend perceptions, and visualization biases Story telling as a visualization aid for naturalistic decision making Information presentation, feedback, and the automation paradox effects on visualized automated systems Visualization aids for complex and nonconventional military environments Based on these principles, generalized design guidelines were proposed for a commander-centered architecture as a basis for future battlefield visualization and knowledge management systems.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: February 1, 2003