Interactive Workspaces in Construction

Kathleen McKinney Liston, Stanford Civil Engineering

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University February 22, 2002

Today's electronic and paper-based approaches to the sharing of project information do not scale to the information sharing and interaction challenges of multi-disciplinary project team meetings. Our observations of project meetings showed that paper-based views and even electronic views of information require project teams to spend most of their time trying to understand and focus on the information rather than identify and solve problems. Our research addresses two aspects of why teams must spend so much time trying to understand project information: 1) Teams must spend a lot of time manually relating critical project information that currently exists in disparate documents or electronic views and 2) teams have difficulty focusing on the appropriate and relevant information. Consequently, it takes multi-disciplinary teams a long time to readily understand the current status of a project, identify the specific issues and problems, ask the right questions , and make project decisions.

Our current work tests whether construction information workspaces (CIW) could address these shortcomings and improve a project team's ability to understand and evaluate project information and potentially make decisions faster and more reliably. We developed a CIW based on the iRoom infrastructure developed by the Computer Science Department at Stanford. We added domain-specific construction services, controllers, and viewers that support 'highlighting' to focus the team's attention on relationships between project information in disparate views. The goal is to assess whether the CIW and the 'highlighting' visualization technique improve a team's ability to make faster and more reliable decisions.

This lecture will discuss this ongoing research, present our observation of project meetings and explain the framework to evaluate the observations, and video showing the current CIW system. This research is being performed under Professor Martin Fischer at the Center For Integrated Facility Engineering at Stanford University.

Kathleen Liston is a Ph.D. Candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University focusing on how visualization techniques can improve decision-making. She has worked as a consultant for Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development for the past 3-1/2 years. She worked at Autodesk in the Advanced Products Group and as an architect and engineer. She has a Masters degree in Structural Engineering from Stanford and a Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame.

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine

Titles and abstracts for all years are available by year and by speaker.

For more information about HCI at Stanford see

Overview Degrees Courses Research Faculty FAQ