Title page for ETD etd-05092002-151043

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Datey, Ameya Vivek
Author's Email Address adatey@csgrad.cs.vt.edu
URN etd-05092002-151043
Title Experiments in the Use of Immersion for Information Visualization
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bowman, Douglas A. Committee Chair
Kriz, Ronald D. Committee Member
North, Christopher L. Committee Member
  • Overview + detail
  • Interaction Techniques
  • Human Factors
  • Virtual Environments
Date of Defense 2002-05-08
Availability unrestricted
Information visualization (info vis) deals with how to increase the bandwidth of effective communication between computer and human, enabling us to see more, understand more, and accomplish more. Traditionally, it deals with interaction and display techniques of visualizing often abstract data on the two-dimensional desktop.

Immersive virtual environments (VEs) offer new, exciting possibilities for information visualization. Immersion gives an enhanced realistic effect, and can improve spatial understanding and orientation. By identifying or developing useful interaction techniques (ITs), we can develop VE systems for better information visualization.

This thesis has two different experiments that were related to two different sides of the study of use of immersion for VEs. One of the experiments is related to abstract data visualization in an immersive VE. The other one was motivated by the need for enhancing a realistic VE with additional data.

In our first experiment, our focus is on implementing overview+detail techniques in VEs. Our hypothesis is that VE-specific ITs should borrow from, but not copy existing 2D IT technique for overview +detail. We develop ITs for use in VEs and show that they are easy to use and useful using task-based usability evaluation. We develop the “jump” technique for use in this application, which can be generalized to numerous other applications. The tangible contribution of this research is Wizard, an application for infovis in VEs.

Our second hypothesis is that if the data to be visualized has inherent spatial attributes, it can be visualized well in immersive virtual environments. We investigate the trends using an experiment that tests people’s understanding of spatial attributes under immersive and desktop conditions. Although not statistically significant, we observed a moderate trend indicating that immersion decreases the time needed to perform a spatial information- gathering task. We believe that this area of research can be applied immediately to the applications currently being developed.

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