In this research project, a map exploration system is investigated to enhance user immersion and interaction experience while exploring map and touring space.

A related paper is available for download:

  • Hadziq Fabroyir, Wei-Chung Teng, Shu-Ling Wang, Rayi Yanu Tara, “MapXplorer Handy: An Immersive Map Exploration System Using Handheld Device,” 2013 International Conference on CYBERWORLDS (CYBERWORLDS 2013), Yokohama, Japan, October 21-23, 2013. Click here: MapXplorer Handy - Cyberworlds 2013 to download the paper (published version).
  • Hadziq Fabroyir, Wei-Chung Teng, Yen-Chun Lin, “An Immersive and Interactive Map Touring System Based on Traveler Conceptual Model”, to be appeared on IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems, Vol.E97-D,No.8,pp,-,Aug. 2014. Click here: MapXplorer - IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems to download the paper (author version).

There are couples of map systems service available on the Internet. They provide services for helping users finding a place or define a route. Particularly, some of them (Google Maps and Bing Maps) add a street view that allows the users exploring a single spot of place through 360 degrees panoramic view. It makes the users get the same feeling of walking over the street when they exploring the map.

However, the horizontal 2-dimensional map and vertical panoramic view cause usability problems. It happens when the users operate it with traditional computer mouse and keyboard; meanwhile the map system presents the view on single display. This research project aims to yield a new approach of display and interaction while taking a map touring. It may give the users a better experience and more immersive way exploring the maps.

Map on the Client

In this research project, the map view and the street view will be displayed on separated devices. Specifically, the map view will be implemented on iPad that run on iOS 5. It employs Map Kit framework to provide an interface for embedding maps directly into views. This framework also provides support for annotating the map, adding overlays, and performing reverse-geocoding lookups to determine place mark information for a given map coordinate. The map application on this tablet device will work as a client. When the users already annotate some location on the map view, the application will send the location (longitude and latitude) to the server via socket connection.

Street View on the Server

The server itself is a PC complemented with Microsoft Kinect sensor device. After receiving location data from the client via socket, it will generate a panoramic view related to that particular place on the monitor. This research project get the panoramic view by retrieving it from Google Street View API. Later on, the panoramic point of view will send some information flag back to client to determine the icon orientation of map view on the tablet. The Microsoft Kinect will assist the application to capture the users skeleton and recognize their gestures. Users walking gesture may trigger the application to generate a new panoramic view subsequently. In addition, users may navigate the point of view on the panoramic display using some particular controller interface on the tablet. Furthermore, this research project will also feature the iPad tablet as portable panoramic view. This kind of interaction will let the users to feel a better experience in exploring the world during map touring.

In the user study, this proposed system would be compared with a standard computer system in the navigation task. The results will examine whether the proposed system improves the intuitiveness of use, efficiency of city exploring and ease of remembrance on spaces that are not familiar beforehand.

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