Investigating Data Exploration Techniques Involving Map Based Geotagged Data in a Collaborative Sensemaking Environment
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The recent advancement in Global Positioning Systems (GPS) using satellite and geotagging has opened many opportunities for data-driven decision-making in fields such as emergency response, military intelligence, oil exploration and urban planning. The enormity and explosion of geospatial data necessitates the development of improved tools to support analysis and decision-making around this complex data – a process often known as sensemaking. A typical geotagged map can have hundreds of data points that are multi-dimensional, with each point having meaningful information associated with its location, as well as project specific information e.g., photographs, graphs, charts, bulletin data among many other information parameters. Sensemaking activities involving such complex data often involve a team of trained professionals who aim to make sense of this data to answer specific sets of questions, and make key decisions. Researchers are currently exploring the use of surface computing technology, such as, interactive digital tabletops and touch-based tablets to form methodologies to enhance collaborative sensemaking. This thesis examined the impact of two multi-surface interaction techniques that allowed individual group members to explore detailed geotagged data on separate peripheral tablets while sharing a large geographical overview on a digital tabletop. The two interaction techniques differed in the type of user input needed to control the location on the tabletop overview of a bounded “region of interest” (ROI) corresponding to the geotagged data displayed on the personal tablets. One technique (TOUCH) required the ROI to be positioned on the tabletop using direct touch interaction. The other technique (TILT) required the ROI to be positioned via 3-dimensional (up-down, left-right) tilt-gesture made with the personal tablet. Findings from the study revealed that the effectiveness of the respective interaction techniques depended on the stage of sensemaking process, and on which collaboration strategy groups employed during collaborative sensemaking.