Mahmoud, Ayman Hassaan A. "Assessment of Visual Perception of Web-Based Virtual Environments Simulations of Urban Context," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 5, issue 1 (2011).
The existing research literature on environmental perception is a body of work mainly based on the use of static representation of environments. However, the real world is usually experienced in a dynamic experience. Virtual environments’ technologies offer the potential to produce simulated environments that create the impression that we are in spaces other than those we actually occupy. A review of literature on environmental perception revealed two components of perception: “space-based” and “object-based” perception. An experiment was conducted to investigate visual perception obtained from a direct experience of an urban landscape and from its representations in desktop virtual environments (desktop VEs). The issues investigated were: accuracy of space-based and object-based visual perception obtained from the physical environment and from desktop virtual environment. A series of tests were administered to assess the visual perception of participants who explored the urban environment following a direct experience, and X3D-VRML models. The results indicated that participants who experienced the X3D-VRML models conducted fewer errors in space-based perception tests. There was evidence that participants in X3D-VRML perceived more objects than their counterparts in the physical environment. Similarities and differences between the physical and virtual environments were discussed suggesting the potential and limitations of desktop VEs in environmental representation. An agenda for future research work is suggested.