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Focus+Context representation and path following

Internship proposal at in|situ|

Advisors: Caroline Appert and Olivier Chapuis


Many systems are designed to guide the user along a route from a starting point to an end point on a map. Some of them are designed for the specific case where the user strictly stays on the route and receives turn-by-turn instructions from the system. Others are designed to let the user see their route in context so as to accommodate more exploratory use cases. For example Google Maps interface allows users to highlight a specific route on a map and let the user navigate through panning and zooming operations on the whole map. With such interfaces, the user can explore and find points of interest (shopping center, restaurant, gas station, etc.) that are either located on the route or close to the route. However, as they offer more freedom in terms of navigation, the user can get lost and have trouble to relate points of interest to the route.

To address these issues we envision a focus+context interface that would stand between the strict turn-by-turn approach and the very permissive route-free approach. In this interface, a magnifying lens is more or less strongly attached to the route to address the two following usability issues:

  1. The user should be able to strictly follow the route with the lens without facing usual problems focus+context representations have for following a path when their manipulation is unconstrained ;
  2. The user should be able to explore the local neighborhood of a route without loosing track of the main route.

The work to do consists in:

  1. Interaction designing: describe typical use cases and prototype a working interface.
  2. Evaluation designing: operationalize use cases into abstract tasks that can be tested in a lab experiment.
  3. Experiment running: conduct the lab experiment to collect quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate users' performance with the novel interface.

Required skills

  • OpenGL programming (the intern would be provided with an existing program to adapt)
  • Interest in focus+context interaction and lab experiments.


  1. Emmanuel Pietriga, Olivier Bau, and Caroline Appert. 2010. Representation-Independent In-Place Magnification with Sigma Lenses. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 16, 3 (May 2010), 455-467.
  2. Daisuke Yamamoto, Shotaro Ozeki, and Naohisa Takahashi. 2009. Wired Fisheye Lens: A Motion-Based Improved Fisheye Interface for Mobile Web Map Services. In Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Web and Wireless Geographical Information Systems (W2GIS '09), James D. Carswell, A. Stewart Fotheringham, and Gavin Mcardle (Eds.). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 153-170.