The Design and Testing of 3DmoveR: an Experimental Tool for Usability Studies of Interactive 3D Maps

Lukáš Herman, Tomáš Řezník, Zdeněk Stachoň, Jan Russnák


Various widely available applications such as Google Earth have made interactive 3D visualizations of spatial data popular. While several studies have focused on how users perform when interacting with these with 3D visualizations, it has not been common to record their virtual movements in 3D environments or interactions with 3D maps. We therefore created and tested a new web-based research tool: a 3D Movement and Interaction Recorder (3DmoveR). Its design incorporates findings from the latest 3D visualization research, and is built upon an iterative requirements analysis. It is implemented using open web technologies such as PHP, JavaScript, and the X3DOM library. The main goal of the tool is to record camera position and orientation during a user’s movement within a virtual 3D scene, together with other aspects of their interaction. After building the tool, we performed an experiment to demonstrate its capabilities. This experiment revealed differences between laypersons and experts (cartographers) when working with interactive 3D maps. For example, experts achieved higher numbers of correct answers in some tasks, had shorter response times, followed shorter virtual trajectories, and moved through the environment more smoothly. Interaction-based clustering as well as other ways of visualizing and qualitatively analyzing user interaction were explored.


3D maps; 3D cartography; 3D Movement and Interaction Recorder; 3DmoveR; usability; user performance; X3DOM; web technologies

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