Designing Three-Dimensional Augmented Reality Weather Visualizations to Enhance General Aviation Weather Education

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Meister, Philippe
Miller, Jack
Wang, Kexin
Winer, Eliot
Brown, Lori J.
Whitehurst, Geoffrey
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Dorneich, Michael
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Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
The Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering teaches the design, analysis, and improvement of the systems and processes in manufacturing, consulting, and service industries by application of the principles of engineering. The Department of General Engineering was formed in 1929. In 1956 its name changed to Department of Industrial Engineering. In 1989 its name changed to the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering.
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Aerospace Engineering

The Department of Aerospace Engineering seeks to instruct the design, analysis, testing, and operation of vehicles which operate in air, water, or space, including studies of aerodynamics, structure mechanics, propulsion, and the like.

The Department of Aerospace Engineering was organized as the Department of Aeronautical Engineering in 1942. Its name was changed to the Department of Aerospace Engineering in 1961. In 1990, the department absorbed the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics and became the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. In 2003 the name was changed back to the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

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  • Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (1990-2003)

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Virtual Reality Applications Center
At VRAC, our mission is clear: “To elevate the synergy between humans and complex interdisciplinary systems to unprecedented levels of performance”. Through our exceptional Human Computer Interaction (HCI) graduate program, we nurture the next generation of visionaries and leaders in the field, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the intricate relationship between humans and technology. This empowers our students to create intuitive and transformative user experiences that bridge the gap between innovation and practical application.
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Objective: We designed, developed, and evaluated a 3D augmented reality (AR) weather visualization to investigate whether it could enhance communication about weather in general aviation (GA) education. Background: Evaluations of GA weather training identified gaps in training where students lack the ability to correlate weather knowledge to inflight decision making. Literature review: 3D AR learning objects have been used in the sciences to make representations of multidimensional natural phenomena more accessible in classroom settings, and they offer the promise of enhancing communication about weather. Research question: Can smartphone- and tablet-based 3D AR weather visualizations be effective tools to enhance current GA weather education? Methods: A 3D AR thunderstorm cell lifecycle visualization was designed and developed. A preliminary evaluation of the application for GA weather training was conducted with one certified flight instructor, one university aviation meteorology instructor, one university thunderstorm expert, and three students to assess whether the AR thunderstorm visualization can communicate weather theory and whether the interfaces are usable for learning and task completion. Results: Students’ knowledge of thunderstorms increased after using the visualization to explore the dynamics of the thunderstorm lifecycle and various aspects of thunderstorms. Experts felt that the learning experience met their expectations of what they wanted to communicate about thunderstorm theory. The AR interfaces were rated as usable for learning interactions and produced low levels of workload. Conclusion: The communication of thunderstorm theory was supported by the animation and interactivity of the visualization, and has the potential to enhance current general aviation weather education.
This article is published as Meister, Philippe, Jack Miller, Kexin Wang, Michael C. Dorneich, Eliot Winer, Lori J. Brown, and Geoffrey Whitehurst. "Designing Three-Dimensional Augmented Reality Weather Visualizations to Enhance General Aviation Weather Education." IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication 65, no. 2 (2022): 321-326. DOI: 10.1109/TPC.2022.3155920. "U.S. Government work not protected by U.S. copyright."