Color Analysis in Air Traffic Control Displays. Part 1: Radar Displays
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OKLAHOMA CITY OK CIVIL AEROMEDICAL INST
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One of the current trends in air traffic control ATC display technology is a substantial increase in the use of color. Whereas the advantages of color may seem apparent, little attention has been devoted to potential disadvantages of color use with respect to complex cognitive aspects of the ATC environment. Although controllers use several different displays simultaneously designed and manufactured by different companies, the Federal Aviation Administration FAA has not yet adopted a standard for color use to ensure that the various color schemes are compatible. At present, there is no systematic documentation and analysis of color use in ATC displays. This lack of standardization and documentation presents a challenge for manufacturers to design compatible color schemes and for the FAA to evaluate the effectiveness of a display at acquisition. This report was designed to address the lack of such information. The study evaluates color-coding, color usage, task purposes and effectiveness of color use, potential shortcomings, and color complexity for three types of radar displays used by operational controllers. This systematic documentation allowed us to assess compatibility across displays. The study also revealed some visual factors that may affect the usefulness of a display. The results of these investigations will be beneficial for the development of design prototypes and for acquisition evaluation of new ATC display technologies.
- Flight Control and Instrumentation
- Electrooptical and Optoelectronic Devices