Comparison of interactive environments for the archaeological exploration of 3D landscape data

Conference Paper

The increasingly widespread availability of high-accuracy terrain models is revolutionizing our understanding of historic landscapes across the globe, yet much of this inherently 3D data is viewed and analyzed using 2D Geographical Information System (GIS). The ability to explore the environments in a more immersive way that takes advantage of the full data content is advantageous for professionals and researchers, but is also highly desirable for education and public outreach. This paper describes the method and outcomes of a comparison of three virtual environments; a six-sided CAVE-type immersive virtual reality system (referred to henceforth as CAVE); a 3D web application and a standard 2D desktop paradigm in the form of a GIS. Two groups of participants were used to reflect specialist and non-specialist interests. This study showed that while the 2D GIS, the most common interface for exploring archaeological data, is well-suited to expert interpretation (based on previous familiarity with the system), it is significantly harder for non-specialists to undertake a feature identification and location task in this environment when compared with the 3D environments. Specialist users also mostly preferred the ability to view terrain data in 3D. The experience of fully-immersive CAVE-type system was valuable for a sense of place and contextualizing features in a way that was not possible in the other environments. However it was not shown that this led to improved archaeological observations during the exploration and there is some evidence that the lack of orientation made recounting features in the reflection time more difficult. Although small-scale the experiment gave valuable insight into the use of the different environments by specialist and non-specialist groups, allowing the 3D web application to be identified as the optimal environment for pedagogical purposes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bennett, R; Zielinski, DJ; Kopper, R

Published Date

  • July 15, 2015

Published In

  • 2014 Ieee Vis International Workshop on 3dvis, 3dvis 2014

Start / End Page

  • 67 - 71

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781479968268

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1109/3DVis.2014.7160103

Citation Source

  • Scopus