Development and Evaluation of Augmented 3D Maps to Support Mountaineers’ Planning and Decision Making
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Mountaineers and ‘recreational hill walkers’ use a variety of maps and techniques to follow safe routes along a trail. This dissertation project investigates the practicality of augmented maps to support the recreational hill walker in route following across a mountainous region. Advances in mobile applications are allowing the recreational hill walker to become nearly as accustomed to the landscape they intend on visiting as the mountaineer is through experience. However, recent research has found that the leading causes of mountaineering incidents is due to walkers making poor decisions based on an absence of knowledge and understanding, and poor situational awareness. The application developed for this project, A3DMap (Augmented Three-Dimensional Map), has been created to address this issue with the objective of providing a proof of concept for such an application. The development and subsequent testing of A3DMap highlights a number of strengths and weaknesses of using augmented maps to visualise mountainous landscapes for both experienced mountaineers and recreational hill walkers. It is concluded that A3DMap provides sufficient proof of concept that augmented maps could be used effectively to increase a hill walker’s situational awareness. It is anticipated that with further advances in mobile technology, maps of this kind will be able to inform the less experienced mountaineer of the potential risks involved in certain mountain ranges and which routes are appropriate to take, thereby reducing the chance of mountain accidents occurring.