The 3rd JRC ECML Crisis Management Technology Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction with Big Wall Displays in Situation Rooms and Monitoring Centres was co-organised by the European Commission Joint Research Centre and the University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten, Austria. It took place in the European Crisis Management Laboratory (ECML) of the JRC in Ispra, Italy, from 18 to 19 April 2013. 40 participants from stakeholders in the EC, civil protection bodies, academia, and industry attended the workshop.
The hardware of large display areas is on the one hand mature since many years and on the other hand changing rapidly and improving constantly. This high pace developments promise amazing new setups with respect to e.g., pixel density or touch interaction.
On the software side there are two components with room for improvement: 1. the software provided by the display manufacturers to operate their video walls (source selection, windowing system, layout control) and 2. dedicated ICT systems developed to the very needs of crisis management practitioners and monitoring centre operators.
While industry starts to focus more on the collaborative aspects of their operating software already, the customized and tailored ICT applications needed are still missing, unsatisfactory, or very expensive since they have to be developed from scratch many times.
Main challenges identified to enhance big wall display systems in crisis management and situation monitoring contexts include:
1. Interaction: Overcome static layouts and/or passive information consumption.
2. Participatory Design & Development: Software needs to meet users’ needs.
3. Development and/or application of Information Visualisation & Visual Analytics principle to support the transition from data to information to knowledge.
4. Information Overload: Proper methods for attention management, automatic interpretation, incident detection, and alarm triggering are needed to deal with the ever growing amount of data to be analysed.