Hand Images in Virtual Spatial Collaboration for Traffic Incident and Disaster Management


Daniel Drew, Caroline Hayes, Mai-Anh Nguyen, Xuan Cheng

March 2013

Report no. CTS 13-15

Purpose: To develop demonstration technology that can overlay hand videos on spatial images such as traffic maps, and assess the impact of this technology on virtual collaboration. This work explores to what degree gestures impact collaboration effectiveness in the task of traffic incident management, with the goal of informing design of tools to support virtual collaboration in this domain. Methods: Eighteen participants worked in pairs to solve three traffic incident scenarios using three different interaction approaches: 1) face-to-face: participants worked together by marking up an electronic map projected on the table in front of them; 2) separated: participants were separated by a soft wall while they worked together on the electronic map with electronic drawing tools; or 3) hand images: same as 2 with the addition of the partner?s hand images projected on the map. Participants were video recorded. The questionnaires were given to participants after each trial to evaluate workload, positive interactions, team behaviors, connection to teammate, and frustration. Results: Participants spent more time on the task and perceived a higher level of time pressure when using hand images than when working face-to-face. When working face-to-face, participants felt more like their teammate was at the same table and felt less disconnected from their teammate than when working separately or using hand images. Conclusions: The results indicate that adding hand videos to a virtual drawing tool for the task of traffic incident management can increase team behaviors and change the way in which team members communicate information.

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ITS Institute (RITA)