Usability in 4D AR: Visualising Multi-temporal Real-time Geo-data in Augmented Reality Environments
Keywords:real-time augmented reality, 4D augmented reality, real-time mobile geo-app
Even though advantages of 3D visualisation of multi-temporal geo-data versus 2D approaches have been widely proven, the particular pertaining challenge of real-time visualisation of geo-data in mobile Digital Earth applications has not been thoroughly tackled so far. In the emerging field of Augmented Reality (AR), research needs comprise finding the optimal information density, the interplay between orientation data in the background and other information layers, using the appropriate graphical variables for display, or selecting real-time base data with adequate quality and suitable spatial accuracy. In this paper we present a concept for integrating real-time data into 4D (three spatial dimensions plus time) AR environments, i.e., data with “high” spatial and temporal variations. We focus on three research challenges: 1.) high-performance integration of real-time data into AR; 2.) usability design in terms of displaying spatio-temporal developments and the interaction with the application; and 3.) design considerations regarding reality vs. virtuality, visualisation complexity and information density. We validated our approach in a prototypical application and extracted several limitations and future research areas including natural feature recognition, the cross-connection of (oftentimes monolithic) AR interface developments and well-established cartographic principles, or fostering the understanding of the temporal context in dynamic 4D Augmented Reality environments.
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