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Impact of Increasing Situation Awareness Information Fidelity on Command Decision Making

This is a completed project.


Within the context of the MACCH project, which is focused on the development of new surface computing technologies within a mobile emergency services command centre, we investigated the impact of introducing dynamically updated geospatial situation information of field personnel on the decision making and collaboration practices of command personnel.

The deployment of high-fidelity information systems in command and control environments is common, however little is known about the impacts these systems have on decision-making processes, or whether the deployment of such always provides a positive change. Research in military domains has suggested that these types of systems may increase command-level micromanagement, but these changes have not been empirically investigated. The goal of this project is to empirically investigate the effect of high-fidelity information on command-level decision-making.

A baseline set of data was collected within a real-world command center (through the MACCH project) that uses only low-fidelity information. Then, a laboratory-based controlled technology experiment was conducted to gather information about how the command processes change as information fidelity increases. The same system was then deployed within the functioning command center and preliminary comparisons were made against the original baseline data. The study findings suggest that an increase in micromanagement may occur with an increase in information fidelity, while at the same time this increase in information fidelity improves situation awareness and performance during times of both extremely low and high workload. The preliminary ecological validation based on the field evaluation of the system provides some support for these empirical effects.


Project Images

MACCH software interface for command centre that provides 
real-time location information of field personnel
Lab-based user study investigating 
command decision-making using the MACCH interface


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