Evaluation of Symbol Sets for Naval Tactical Displays


  1. McFadden, S.M.
  2. Jeon, J.
  3. Li, A.
  4. Minniti, A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);Waterloo Univ, Waterloo ONT (CAN)
The four experiments reported in this paper were conducted in support of the COMmand Decision Aiding Technology (COMDAT) (11bg) Technology Demonstrator Project (TDP) and the Halifax Class Modernization Command and Control System (HMCCS) programme. The first experiment assessed the relative visibility of the basic Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS) and MIL-STD-2525B (2525) tactical symbols. Performance with the colour-coded versions of the two symbol sets was not significantly different. However, the air and subsurface symbols were less discriminable than the surface symbols. Recommendations for improving the discrimination of the different warfare area symbols are included. One potential advantage of the 2525 symbols is the facility to add additional information about the track platform to the basic symbol shape. The remaining experiments assessed the visibility of the basic symbols with iconic information added and the visibility of the icons themselves. Adding iconic information did not have a large effect on the efficiency with which the basic symbols were located except when the icon shape replaced the symbol shape. Performance in locating and recognizing individual icons depended on their complexity and their uniqueness. It was recommended that only a small number of highly discriminable icons be used at any one time. The use of icons without the symbol frame should be restricted to non tactical information and such icons should probably not be colour coded. Further resea
COMDAT;Navy;MIL-STD-2525B;NTDS symbols;operator-machine interface;symbols;icons;tactical symbology;multi-dimensional scaling
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-TR-2007-046 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Jan 2008
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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