Eye Tracking Technology at NSSL

Have you heard about eye tracking? This burgeoning technology has become increasingly important to the work we do here at NSSL. Our researchers are leveraging opportunities to use eye tracking to analyze forecaster decision-making and improve awareness in various meteorological scenarios.

eye-tracking-1Michigan State University researcher Robert Drost applied the concept in 2013 to analyze the gestures of broadcast meteorologists and the effect on viewers’ attention. Eye tracking has since been used in several other studies.

NSSL scientists first used this technology to study how forecasters analyzed Phased Array Radar data, updating every minute. Realizing the utility of the eye tracking information, researchers were motivated to incorporate these tests into the 2015 Phased Array Radar Innovative Sensing Experiment. In this study, principal investigators Pam Heinselman (NSSL) and Katie Bowden (OU CIMMS researcher, working with NSSL) used eye tracking technology to examine the decision-making process of National Weather Service forecasters from around the country. The eye gaze data of the forecasters was collected as they studied radar data, providing insight into their thought process and focus.

CIMMS/NSSL scientist Elizabeth Argyle, in collaboration with NSSL’s JJ Gourley and CIMMS/NSSL’s Zac Flamig, uses eye tracking to study how a type of decision-making support tool for flash floods called recommenders affect a forecaster’s situational awareness of the overall meteorological situation. This type of feedback will help us develop useful tools and training for forecasters, resulting in improved warning for you when severe weather strikes!