Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Map data goes live with voice, gesture-based computer system


Emergency management teams, faced with an approaching hurricane, can access GIS map data through voice and gestures for real-time decision making on issues ranging from protecting hazardous materials sites to evacuating assisted-living facilities by using a computer system developed by Penn State researchers.

The research team says the system also can assist planners and transportation engineers visualize the impacts of potential developments and highways as well as help crisis management personnel respond more quickly to other disasters.

"Our technology is dialogue and gesture-based, and is designed so that people can work together at a large map," said Alan MacEachren, professor of geography and principal investigator on the project. "It makes Geographic Information System (GIS) tools easier to use – you don’t have to rely on technology experts – and it’s responsive, so there’s no time delay."

The Dialogue-Assisted Visual Environment for Geoinformation (DAVE_G) debuted Friday (Nov. 8) at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 10th International Symposium on Advancements in Geographical Information Systems in McLean, Va.

In response to verbal and gesture commands, DAVE_G can zoom into a particular area and show specific data such as the locations of cemeteries, hospitals and highways. In its first generation, the technology also can indicate flood areas and emergency shelters.

While DAVE_G currently relies on text to respond or ask for more information if queries aren’t clear, eventually it will talk to its questioners. Subsequent generations also will provide a broader range of geospatial information, MacEachren said.

The three-year research effort, funded by the National Science Foundation, has just begun its second year.

Co-investigators for the project are Rajeev Sharma, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and Guoray Cai, assistant professor in the School of Information Sciences and Technology.

Geospatial information enables emergency management decision-makers to assess an area’s risk, impact and recovery from natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and biological hazards including the West Nile Virus. But current GIS tools primarily support individual users rather than the teams of experts that plan emergency responses.

"There’s a huge amount of geospatial information available, but there’s a disconnect between that information and the decision makers," said Sharma, a prominent researcher in speech-gesture interfaces. "This will make more and richer information accessible in a timely manner."

On-site visits and telephone surveys to the Florida and Charleston County (S.C.) emergency operations centers revealed the need for tools that share GIS data and that allow emergency personnel, who often aren’t technical experts, to work jointly with GIS data. DAVE_G allows for that collaboration among users as well as facilitates easier access to information by a larger and more diverse population of users.

With microphone domes and cameras, the DAVE_G prototype allows two people to interact with a large display map (researchers aim to expand the collaboration potential). Its software, which recognizes gestures and interprets spoken commands and requests, doesn’t require a teaching session to start the system, so users can access data immediately. The system’s response is multimedia and includes maps, textual messages and generated speech.

The system has evolved out of the original iMap developed by Sharma with software support from Advanced Interface Technologies, Inc., a company spun off from Penn State to commercialize speech-gesture interfaces.

The recognition of speech and gesture is the first step for the system that researchers say can improve and streamline decision making for crisis management personnel and others.

"Our goal is to make the system understand the users’ information needs based on high-level knowledge about their task and their characteristics," Cai said. "We use intelligent agent technology to enable the information systems to be cooperative partners in the users’ problem-solving process."

The new system is described in a paper, "Designing a Human-Centered, Multimodal GIS Interface to Support Emergency Management," presented at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 10th International Symposium on Advancements in Geographical Systems.

Margaret Hopkins | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Next Generation Cryptography
20.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT

nachricht TIB’s Visual Analytics Research Group to develop methods for person detection and visualisation
19.03.2018 | Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>