Geovisualization and Eyetracking

I had tea and a brief lab tour recently with my friend Dr. Arzu Coltekin (who conveniently works in the building across from mine) and in her own words

I am a researcher/lecturer, doing what I do in a ‘geovisualization’ unit (GIVA). I come from a Geomatics engineering education. I mostly work on a number of visualization-motivated projects. My “track A” research interest is linking what we know about human vision into (geo)visualization and in that I work both in basic and applied concepts (methods borrowed from geomatics, computer science, biology, optics). My “track B” is user experince studies (methods borrowed from psychology), which informs/contributes to track A. The results from both tracks inform visualization design and aim at more efficient data management. These days the containing word seems to be ‘visual analytics‘.

I am amazed and inspired by the cross-disciplinary nature of her work and the impact she’s managed to have in a variety of fields. We only touched the surface of her work in our tour in which I got the chance to try out an eye-tracking research station and a 3D visualization wall. The eye-tracking was eye-opening and provided a real-time snapshot of my internal and unconscious monologue. This is clearly illustrated by the questions I’ve provided which shouldn’t be hard to answer based on the tracking plots:

Where do I live? Which country had I recently visited on vacation?

Where are the most different country names?

Where's Waldo? What accessory was brought up several times during conversation?

Seeing the power of state-of-the-art eyetracking, I’m excited about a future with high quality eyetracking-based heads up displays or even a nearer future with some minor eye tracking interface on an extant smartphone.

In the nearest of futures Arzu will be dropping by my lab for cross pollinating from yet another discipline: visualization of astrophysical simulations.

0 thoughts on “Geovisualization and Eyetracking

    1. A rig consisting of 3 spaced cameras placed at a precise location in front of computer monitor + two infrared sensors It was calibrated to my eyes in 30 seconds. The hardware and software costs on the order of $40,000.

      So, no. But something with 2+ hi-res webcams and 1+ IR sensor plus lots of software hacks would have the possibility to approach it.

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