On Navigation Guidance for Exploration of 3D Environments
Report, 2006

Navigation in complex and large-scale 3D virtual environments has been shown to be a difficult task, imposing a high cognitive load on the user. In this paper, we present a comprehensive method for assisting users in exploring and understanding such 3D worlds, computing first a complete path through the world used as a basis for exploration and then supporting the rich interactions necessary for navigating and wayfinding in the world. The method consists of two distinct phases: an off-line computation step deriving a grand tour using the world geometry and any semantic target information as input, and an on-line interactive navigation step providing guided exploration and improved spatial perception for the user. The former phase is based on a voxelized version of the geometrical dataset that is used to compute a connectivity graph for use in a TSP-like formulation of the problem. The latter phase takes the output tour from the off-line step as an input for guiding 3D navigation through the environment using a technique we call spring-zooming. A user study indicates a significant efficiency improvement in performing visual search tasks in a complex 3D environment using the technique in comparison to unaided 3D navigation. Furthermore, the results show that the spring-zooming technique strikes a good balance between guidance and interaction, achieving significantly better general recall performance in comparison to a simple tour-following technique allowing for no user control.

navigation aid

tour generation

navigation assistance


Niklas Elmqvist

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Computing Science (Chalmers)

Philippas Tsigas

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Computing Science (Chalmers)

Subject Categories

Computer Science

Technical report D - Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology and Göteborg University: 19

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