Evaluation of Visual, Auditory and Tactile Displays of GPS-Based Localization Information for Soldiers on the Battlefield

Évaluation d’Affichages Visuels, Sonores et Tactiles d’Information de Localisation GPS pour les Soldats sur le Champ de Bataille


  1. Colbert, H.J.
  2. Tack, D.W.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);Humansystems Inc, Guelph ONT (CAN)
This report describes an investigation of various displays of GPS-based position, bearing and distance information using three systems: 1) an augmented reality visual display in a head-mounted virtual retinal device; 2) a 3D audio system using tone pitch and frequency cues; and 3) an eight-tactor chest-distributed tactile system. These systems were compared to a map and compass baseline condition for localizing both stationary and moving battlefield entities within the context of platoon attack missions. Performance measures included distance and bearing estimation accuracy, and time required for distance and bearing estimations. Acceptability data were collected in the form of workload questionnaires, exit questionnaires, focus groups and human factors observer assessments. Overall, GPS- based navigation information systems were found to provide advantages over a map-and-compass-based system. Of the three systems tested, the visual display was preferred; however, it tended to compromise the soldier’s situation awareness. Performance trends also indicated that the bearing and distance estimations and time required to use the system were best with the visual display system. If a soldier is in a situation where his visual sense is already overloaded, localization information displayed using a tactile method may be preferable. Improvements to an audio method including non-occluding ear cups and customisable 3D sound could make the audio method of information localization viabl

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Soldier Information Requirements Technology Demonstration Project;SIREQ TD;Visual displays;Auditory displays;Tactile Displays;GPS;Localization Information;mission planning;wayfinding;tactors;navigation;3D sound;3D audio;haptic displays;situation awareness
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-CR-2005-047 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Jul 2005
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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