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Design and Evaluation Study of Visual Analytics Decision Support Tools in Air Traffic Control
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8862-7331
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9466-9826
2022 (English)In: Computer graphics forum (Print), ISSN 0167-7055, E-ISSN 1467-8659, Vol. 41, no 1, p. 230-242Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Operators in air traffic control facing time- and safety-critical situations call for efficient, reliable and robust real-time processing and interpretation of complex data. Automation support tools aid controllers in these processes to prevent separation losses between aircraft. Issues of current support tools include limited what-if and what-else probe functionalities in relation to vertical solutions. This work presents the design and evaluation of two visual analytics interfaces that promote contextual awareness and support what-if and what-else probes in the spatio-temporal domain aiming to improve information integration and support controllers in prioritising conflict resolution. Both interfaces visualize vertical solution spaces against a time-altitude graph. The main contributions of this paper are: (a) the presentation of two interfaces for supporting conflict solving; (b) the novel representation of how vertical information and aircraft rate of climb and descent affect conflicts and (c) an evaluation and comparison of the interfaces with a traditional air traffic control support system. The evaluation study was performed with domain experts to compare the effects of visualization concepts on operator engagement in processing solutions suggested by the tools. Results show that the visualizations support operators ability to understand and resolve conflicts. Based on the results, general design guidelines for time-critical domains are proposed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley , 2022. Vol. 41, no 1, p. 230-242
Keywords [en]
Human-computer interfaces; interaction; information visualization; visual analytics; visualization
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-182019DOI: 10.1111/cgf.14431ISI: 000729763500001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-182019DiVA, id: diva2:1624024
Available from: 2022-01-03 Created: 2022-01-03 Last updated: 2022-10-27
In thesis
1. Real-Time Visual Analytics Interfaces to Strengthen Human-Automation Collaboration
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Real-Time Visual Analytics Interfaces to Strengthen Human-Automation Collaboration
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Automation in today’s world supports human operators to accomplish several tasks in limited time. With more advanced automation and autonomous systems, the hu-mans’ role is shifting from hands-on operational tasks to supervisory tasks. In complex environments such as air traffic control, supervisory tasks become difficult to manage during unexpected situations as the operator needs to have a clear understanding of various resolution strategies and their consequences and make decisions about them in a limited amount of time (i.e. within a couple of minutes). In such environments, interface designers must carefully consider how information should be presented to the operators. An improper way of presenting information could, wastefully consume operators’ cognitive resources resulting in inefficient decision-making and an increased risk of failure. 

By designing ecological visual analytics interfaces, this thesis addresses the problem of real-time decision-making in the domain of air traffic control. The aim of this thesis has been to apply ecological design theories to the design and evaluation of visual representations to better support controllers’ analytical capabilities and decision-making. Four novel visual analytics interfaces were designed, developed, and tested over the course of this research project. To understand how the designed visual representations affected the operators’ decision-making processes, evaluation studies with air traffic controllers as well as novices without ATC experience were conducted for two of the designed interfaces and the results were analyzed. 

The contribution of this thesis to the field of air traffic control and visualization design is fourfold. First, the thesis contributes knowledge on what information should be visualized and how, to achieve functional goals of conflict detection and resolution task of air traffic control. Second, evolved through a series of design studies, a final interactive visual analytics interface is proposed that visualizes information about the available solution space for solving conflict situations between airborne traffic and the traffic complexity. The interface supports controllers’ decision-making process for resolving conflicts and ability to reduce the traffic complexity. Third, the method developed for evaluating the interface designs contribute with knowledge on how interfaces tailored to safety-critical systems can be tested. Fourth, findings show that the integration of ecological interface design with the development of visual representations can shape novice and expert operators’ decision-making towards domain-specific functional goals, while allowing them to follow their own problem-solving strategies. 

Abstract [sv]

Automation hjälper mänskliga operatörer att utföra uppgifter parallellt, på begränsad tid. Med mer avancerad automation och autonoma system förändras människans roll, och går över från mer direkt kontroll till övervakning- och intervention. I komplexa miljöer som flygledning, blir övervakningsuppgifter svåra att hantera under oväntade situationer eftersom operatören behöver ha en klar förståelse för olika strategier, deras konsekvenser, och fatta beslut om dem under en begränsad tid (inom ett par minuter). I sådana miljöer måste en visualiseringsdesigner noga överväga hur information ska presenteras för operatörerna. Ett felaktigt sätt att presentera information belastar operatörernas kognitiva resurser, vilket leder till ineffektivt beslutsfattande och en ökad risk för misslyckanden.  

Genom att utforma ekologiska visuella analytiska gränssnitt tar denna avhandling upp problemet med beslutsfattande i realtid, i oplanerade situationer, inom området för flygledning. Syftet med denna avhandling har varit att tillämpa ekologiska designteorier på design och utvärdering av visuella representationer. Målet var att bättre stödja operatörers analytiska förmåga och beslutsfattande. Fyra nya visuella analysgränssnitt utformades, utvecklades och testades. För att förstå hur de visuella representationerna påverkade operatörernas beslutsprocesser genomfördes utvärderingsstudier med såväl flygledare som nybörjare utan domänerfarenhet för två av gränssnitten och resultaten analyserades.  

Avhandlingen ger fyra bidrag till området flygledning och till området visualiseringsdesign. För det första bidrar den med kunskap om vilken information som ska visualiseras och hur man uppnår funktionella mål för att upptäcka och lösa konflikter i flygledning. För det andra, utvecklat genom en serie designstudier, föreslås ett interaktivt visuellt analytiskt gränssnitt. Det visualiserar information om det tillgängliga lösningsutrymmet för att lösa konfliktsituationer mellan luftburen trafik, samt visar trafikens komplexitet. Gränssnittet utformades för att stödja beslutsprocesser för att lösa konflikter och för att minska komplexitet i trafik. För det tredje bidrar den metod som utvecklats för att utvärdera gränssnittsdesignerna, med kunskap om hur gränssnitt skräddarsydda för säkerhetskritiska system kan testas. För det fjärde bidrar avhandlingen med resultat angående integrationen av ekologisk gränssnittsdesign med utveckling av visuella representationer. Den visar hur gränssnitten kan påverka nybörjare och operatörers (experters) beslutsfattande angående domänspecifika funktionella mål, samtidigt som gränssnitten tillåter dem att följa sina egna problemlösningsstrategier.   

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2022. p. 106
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 2257
Keywords
Abstraction hierarchy, Angular timeline visualization, Air traffic complexity, Air traffic control, Air traffic controller, Conflict detection and resolution, Ecological interface design, Focus context visualization, Human-automation collaboration, Human–computer interaction, Information visualization, Interaction, Rate of climb or descent, Research through design, Safety-critical systems, Visual analytics, Visualization, Visualization design and evaluation methods, Work domain analysis
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-188501 (URN)10.3384/9789179294908 (DOI)9789179294892 (ISBN)9789179294908 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-10-11, Domteatern, Visualiseringscenter C., Kungsgatan 54, Norrköping, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-09-14 Created: 2022-09-14 Last updated: 2022-09-14Bibliographically approved

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