Investigating Geospatial Holograms for Special Weapons and Tactics Teams

Sven Fuhrmann, Nevada J. Smith, Mark Holzbach, Terry Nichols


Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams rely heavily on collecting and applying geospatial intelligence. Traditional two-dimensional mapping products might limit or hinder successful operations by not showing important three-dimensional information of the terrain and its natural and/or human-built objects. Geospatial holograms are able to display these three dimensional spatial features to users without requiring special eyewear or using complex viewing technologies. A point light source is all that is required to make the imagery visible. Before introducing geospatial holograms into the SWAT domain, where lives are at potential risk, a series of usefulness, acceptance, and usability tests need to be performed. One of the key geospatial hologram design requirements identified for SWAT incidents was support for effective route planning and wayfinding. This paper will report about a first pilot study that investigated and compared wayfinding performance of SWAT teams using both traditional 2D imagery and geospatial holograms. Our initial research indicates that geospatial holograms could enhance SWAT operations, especially in multi-story environments. In the pilot study geospatial holograms were positively reviewed by SWAT team members and were described as a technology that should be further explored.


geovisualization; geospatial holograms; special weapons and tactics; spatial cognition; usability

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