Employing three-dimensional displays in Air Traffic Control (ATC) has been the object of study and debates for numerous years. Although empirical studies have often led to mixed results, some preliminary evidence suggests that training could be a suitable domain of application for 3D interfaces. Little evidence, however, is available to fully support this claim. We attempted to fill this gap with a project that aims at studying and evaluating 3D displays for ATC training purposes. This paper describes the first steps of this project, by reporting and discussing the results of a study aiming at understanding whether ATC trainees form a three-dimensional image of air traffic and at comprehending what the nature of this `3D picture' is.
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