The Representation of Tactical Information as an Abstraction Hierarchy: Is the Abstraction Level of Knowledge Representation Related to the Situational Awareness and the Abstraction Level of Team Communication?

by T. Nederhoff

Institution: Universiteit Utrecht
Year: 2015
Keywords: Abstraction hierarchy; ecological interface design; communication
Record ID: 1246105
Full text PDF: http://dspace.library.uu.nl:8080/handle/1874/311924


The main goal of a military operational team is to assess the tactical situation in order to act and react to the situation timely and accurately. Over the years, tactical situations have become more complex, including more actors and asymmetric threads. Additionally, military operations have become more comprehensive (i.e., operations require more than just fighting an opponent but also contain activities such as re-constructive work, counterinsurgency, and politics). An important role in achieving situational awareness is extracting knowledge from the system’s interface. By applying concepts of ecological interface design, environmental information can be presented in a system more effectively. By using an abstraction hierarchy in the information representation, a better fit to the operator’s mental representation can be realized. This paper describes an experiment where the knowledge representation in a command and control interface is modeled according to the abstraction hierarchy by Rasmussen (1985). Measures of situation awareness and communication were analyzed to assess the effect of the implication of abstraction hierarchy in information representation. Results showed no significant difference when hierarchical knowledge representation was compared to conventional knowledge representation. However, trends were directly showing that higher abstraction levels in communication and situation awareness of the tactical situation increases with the application of abstraction hierarchy.