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Visualization of spatio-temporal processes on Google Maps

Sifakis Ioannis

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Year 2019
Type of Item Master Thesis
Bibliographic Citation Ioannis Sifakis, "Visualization of spatio-temporal processes on Google Maps", Master Thesis, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece, 2019
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The presentation of spatiotemporal processes is a recurring theme in learning. Such processes are part of the standard curricula in subjects like geography, history, environmental education etc., as well as in professional learning tools like civil protection and diverse specializations of engineering. Learners face several difficulties in studying learning topics without strong spatiotemporal process visualization and explanation support. There is a need to model such content knowledge in a systematic way and provide open exploration environments for learners to interact with the defined spatiotemporal models. ViSTPro (Visualization of Spatio-Temporal Processes) provides a generic infrastructure that addresses these needs of science and engineering education, thus fostering active explorations of spatiotemporal processes as rich scenarios authored by educators and offered to learners through a web-based player. Playing a scenario involves graphic representation of formations, movements and interactions on Google maps. Learners interact with graphical entities in an intuitive manner. In contrast, traditional ways of learning depend upon a painful and difficult process to develop abstract mental images with no real-world direct mapping. Using ViSTPro, learners can watch the representation of the processesʼ evolution in space and time, and actively intervene. To demonstrate the flexibility of ViSTPro and its capability to provide insightful visualizations, three pilot application have been elaborated: two focusing on history teaching (the Battle of Crete and the Battle of Marathon) and one focusing on emergency situations and events with the aim to support the training of civil protection professionals and volunteers. These applications enables innovative training methods, through the use of Google maps and complex scenarios pertaining to spatiotemporal processes that model the phenomena under consideration as well as linking to important information that is represented through ViSTPro semantic maps.An extensive evaluation was done using the Battle of Marathon application that showed considerable improvement in leaners' achievements with the use of ViSTPro. The achievements are further enhanced when students are engaged in the development of the scenarios under consideration. Standard questionnaires were also used to evaluate the usability of ViSTPro and users' emotional response using the system. The results show that the system is highly usable and well accepted by the students.

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