Multi-Modal, Multi-Touch Interaction with Maps in Disaster Management Applications
Keywords: Tabletop, Multitouch, Tangible Interaction, Disaster Control Management, Natural User Interfaces
Abstract. Multi-touch interaction has become popular in recent years and impressive advances in technology have been demonstrated, with the presentation of digital maps as a common presentation scenario. However, most existing systems are really technology demonstrators and have not been designed with real applications in mind. A critical factor in the management of disaster situations is the access to current and reliable data. New sensors and data acquisition platforms (e.g. satellites, UAVs, mobile sensor networks) have improved the supply of spatial data tremendously. However, in many cases this data is not well integrated into current crisis management systems and the capabilities to analyze and use it lag behind sensor capabilities. Therefore, it is essential to develop techniques that allow the effective organization, use and management of heterogeneous data from a wide variety of data sources.
Standard user interfaces are not well suited to provide this information to crisis managers. Especially in dynamic situations conventional cartographic displays and mouse based interaction techniques fail to address the need to review a situation rapidly and act on it as a team. The development of novel interaction techniques like multi-touch and tangible interaction in combination with large displays provides a promising base technology to provide crisis managers with an adequate overview of the situation and to share relevant information with other stakeholders in a collaborative setting. However, design expertise on the use of such techniques in interfaces for real-world applications is still very sparse. In this paper we report on interdisciplinary research with a user and application centric focus to establish real-world requirements, to design new multi-modal mapping interfaces, and to validate them in disaster management applications. Initial results show that tangible and pen-based interaction are well suited to provide an intuitive and visible way to control who is changing data in a multi-user command and control interface.