Augemented Reality, Navigation, Wayfinding, Automated Maps, Spatial Models


Augmented reality is a field of technology in which the real world is overlaid with additional information from a computer generated display. Enhancements to augmented reality technology presently support limited mobility which is expected to increase in the future to provide much greater real world functionality. This work reports on a set of experiments that investigate performance in search and rescue navigating tasks using augmented reality. Augmentation consisted of a spatially and temporally registered map of a maze that was overlaid onto a real world maze. Participants were required to traverse the maze, answer spatially oriented questions in the maze, acquire a target object, and exit. Pre and post hoc questionnaires were administered. Time and accuracy data from one hundred twenty participants were collected across six treatments. The between subject treatments, which had an equal number of male and female participants, were a control condition with only a compass, a control condition with a paper map available prior to maze traversal and four experimental conditions consisting of combinations of egocentric and exocentric maps, and a continuously on and on demand map display. Data collected from each participant consisted of time to traverse the maze, percent of the maze covered, estimations of euclidian distance and direction, estimations of cardinal direction, and spatial recall. Data was also collected via pre and post hoc questionnaires. Results indicate that best performance with respect to time was in the control condition with a map. The small size of the maze could have facilitated this result through route memorization. Augmented reality can offer enhancement to performance as navigational tasks become more complex and saturate working memory. Augmented reality showed best performance in accuracy by facilitating participants' coverage of the maze. Exocentric maps generally exhibited better performance than egocentric maps. On demand displays also generally resulted in better performance than continuously on displays. Gender differences also were evident with males exhibiting better performance than females. Participants reporting an initial tendency to not rotate maps exhibited better performance than those reporting a tendency to rotate maps. Enhancements being made to augmented reality and related technologies will result in more features, improved form factor for users, and improved performance in the future. Guidelines provided in this work seek to ensure augmented reality systems continue to progress in enhancing performance


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Graduation Date





Hancock, Peter


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program

Modeling and Simulation








Release Date

December 2004

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)