Info - Project VEV

Improving disaster preparedness through effective risk communication

Bernd ROHRMANN ( University of Melbourne)

= Project outline =

The project's objective is to critically test the 'presentation validity' of computer-based simulation and virtual-reality techniques ("virtual environments"). Validity issues will first be explored in a general (context-free) approach and then analyzed in the context of a specific environmental topic, the cognition and appraisal of hazards. A panorama theatre environment, the currently most common VE presentation mode, is available. Two virtual environments (urban, forest) will be tested in lab experiments, and people's responses (evaluations, pathways, location choices) measured via direct observation and questionnaires. The results will clarify the relevance of VE features (lighting, sound, movement, secondary information) and augment further VE research and application.

= Status =

This project was on hold in 2004 and 'revitalized' in 2005. It is part of an on-going collaboration with Prof. Ian Bishop from the Center for Geographic Information Systems & Modeling at the University of Melbourne and Prof. Terry Daniel from the University of Tuscon/Arizona, who is an Adjunct Professor to the Environmental Psychology Lab of A/Prof. Bernd Rohrmann.

=Sub-studies =

Currently the following is underway:

(A)  Comparison of presenting environments via simulations, video-recording and photocamera pictures:
A 5-minute walk thru the Melbourne University campus was created in several modes; then the perception and evaluation of these presentations was studied in several experiments, using a standardized questionnaire.

(B)  Presentation of environments in a three-screen mode:
Currently a tricycle carrying three video cameras for environment filming gets prepared, and computer programs for extending the environmental simulation from sub-study (A) are used, in order to create a three-screen presentation of the campus walk.

(C)  Data collection with www-based questionnaires:
The questionnaires from sub-study (A) have been converted into a www-based interview mode. This will be used in experiments at the Psychology Dept. in Tuscon, looking at forest pictured and simulated forest views.

Sub-studies (A) and (B) include a comparison of simulated presentations with the reality, given that the "campus walk" is a local environment, which enables a valid appraisal of simulation quality.

A report about study ASM "Appraisal of simulations of a Melbourne university walk", based on sub-study (A), is currently in preparation. Further sub-studies will be conducted in late 2006 and 2007. Furthermore, a corresponding study at the University in Bochum/Germany (in collaboration with Prof. Rainer Guski) is under consideration.

= Contact address =

A/Prof. Bernd ROHRMANN
Dept. of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, AUSTRALIA
E-Mail: mail {at}

BR 03-05-07