Articles | Volume 5
30 May 2024
 | 30 May 2024

FreeMapRetrieve: Freehand Gestures for Retrieve Operations in Large-Screen Map Environments

Jonas Hurst, Auriol Degbelo, and Christian Kray

Keywords: map interaction, mid-air gestures, large displays, gesture recognition, retrieve, details-on-demand

Abstract. Current research has investigated freehand gestures for Pan and Zoom operations on maps on large screens. Freehand gestures for Retrieve operations, however, have remained largely unexplored. To address this gap, this work introduced two mechanisms for Retrieve on large displays in a research-through-design study: Pointer-to-Feature (i.e. moving a pointer to a geographic feature and then performing a hand gesture to achieve Retrieve) and Feature-to-Pointer (i.e. moving a geographic feature to a stationary pointer at the screen’s centre through panning/ zooming of the map, before performing a hand gesture to achieve Retrieve). The evaluation of a prototype (FreeMapRetrieve) regarding usability and data exploration utility showed that both mechanisms work well. The two techniques are comparable for large polygons but Pointer-to-Feature is slightly more efficient for smaller polygons. Reflections on the design process yield lessons learned that are relevant to designers of gesture-based interaction for maps on large displays.