Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


As virtual environments grow in complexity and size, users are increasingly challenged in assessing situations in large-scale virtual environment. This occurs because of the difficulty in determining where to focus attention and assimilating and assessing the information as it floods in. One technique for providing this type of assistance is to provide the user with a first-person, immersive, synthetic environment observation post, that permits unobtrusive observation of the environment without interfering with the activity in the environment. However, for large, complex synthetic environments, this type of support is not sufficient because the portrayal of raw, unanalyzed data in the virtual space can overwhelm the user. To address these problems, this thesis investigates the types of situational awareness assistance that needs to be provided to users of large-scale virtual environments. A technique developed, is to allow a user to place analysis modules throughout the virtual environment. Each module provides summary information to the user concerning the status of the section of the virtual environment that the module was assigned to monitor. The prototype system, called the Sentinel, is embedded within a virtual environment observatory and provides situational awareness assistance for users within a large virtual environment.

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