The three main benefits of using 3D maps are:
3D allows the viewer to immediately orientate themselves as to where they are in relation to the map.
The brain does not have to think so much producing a more rapid interpretation, allowing for a quicker response to a crisis at hand.
Having orientated yourself once, it is easy to recall later.
The Visual Differences Between A Standard Grid Floor Plan And The Safexit Floor Plan
By Barry J. Bradley, Ph.D.
When you quickly glance at the two floor plans it is immediately apparent that the Safexit floor plan is much more easily understood than the standard grid floor plan. Why?
The answer is that the enhanced, dynamic, retinal images interpreted by our brain interprets the Safexit floor plan as three dimensional or “3D”, which provides more data for interpretation that leads to a more accurate response during a crisis.
It has to do with how our eyes and brain work to interpolate information.
Our eyes only have two-dimensional retinal images and no special third component for depth perception. This requires an interpretation of our physiological information that leads to useful "perception" by the visual cortex of the brain.
The word Stereopsis refers to our ability to appreciate depth, that is the ability to distinguish the relative distance of objects with an apparent physical displacement between the objects.
Adding perceived depth to an evacuation plan provides a clearer understanding of the object. The nearly 2-inch (6 cm) distance between the two pupils causes us to see two slightly different images of the world. This displacement between the horizontal positions of corresponding images is called binocular disparity. It is probably the most important cause for depth perception.
The amount of the displacement or disparity depends on the relative distance of the objects from the eye. For example, when we are directly looking at the standard floor plan, our eyes project their image onto the two foveae (focus centers) of the retina.
Since the standard 2D floor plan is the same distance to both of our eyes, the flat images have corresponding places on the retinas of the two eyes. This results in our eyes sending the image to the visual cortex of the brain that is then interpreted as a grid of lines and words, but is difficult to understand.
But objects with different distances, such as the Safexit floor plan, are projected onto different parts of the retinas. The reason is the disparity. If disparity of corresponding images on the two retinas is small enough, creating convergence, the visual system can "melt" them to the perception of a three dimensional (3D) object.
So, even though the Safexit floor plan is not 3D, the perception is that of a 3D image, because the images are projected at different locations on the retina. This image is then sent via the optic nerve to the visual cortex of the brain and is then sent to the higher centers of the brain. The information results in integrating our vestibular (or balance center), helping us to become better oriented as to time and place. This is known as spatial awareness and all of this happens within milliseconds.
The dynamic information derived from looking at the Safexit floor plan allows us to become oriented (spatially aware) to where we are in relation to the map on the floor plan much faster. Once we are oriented to where we are within our surroundings, we can more easily locate direction, or location of other important landmarks such as exits.
Color, contrast, shape, and texture are also factors that facilitate visual awareness and ease of recognition. These four factors are used by artists to enhance the image that they wish to portray. It is also these four factors that contribute to giving a picture depth so that it has a 3D-effect.
The Safexit plan utilizes all four factors to enhance the floor plan, making it much more visually enhance than just a white chart with black lines. When viewing colored images, the greater the saturation or brightness of the color relative to its background (contrast), the easier it is to see.
Color also has an effect on visual acuity, because the eyes respond differently to light of different colors both in focusing and on the image striking the retina.
Shape and texture also enhance the depth of the image by bringing more relief to the image. An example of this is seen in the apparent elevation of walls in the Safexit floor plan.
The addition of color, contrast, shape and texture all enhance the Safexit floor plan to create a more dynamic aspect. This further enhances the ability of the eye and brain in more immediately perceiving the information derived from viewing the floor plan.
Contrasting colors are also utilized to delineate various landmarks such as exits, fire extinguishers or other information needed in times of crisis, making them more quickly and easily recognizable.
Summary: How does the Safexit plan improve our response in a crisis?
The information sent to the brain from the eyes when viewing the Safexit floor plan provides a more dynamic image that facilitates faster, easier to recognize and more intelligibly perceptible and useful information than the standard “flat” two dimensional floor plan.
In times of emergency, the Safexit floor plan produces a more rapid interpretation and quicker response to a crisis at hand. Being easier and quicker to understand it lessens the response time for a person to orient themselves as to their location within the facility, the nearest exit, fire extinguisher, defibrillator, fire hose, or other pertinent information they might need.
The well-marked, dynamic, simple-to-visualize, directions would facilitate a faster interpretation of critical information and significantly enhance the response actions in an occasion where time is of the essence.
The bottom line is this: The Safexit plan is a 21st century improvement for evacuations that will significantly help to mitigate the risk of loss.
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