The RENCI Engagement Center at ECU operated from 2007-2013. This website is an archive of the research and engagement activity over those years. Several of our projects continue at ECU. For instance, see the NC Coastal Atlas ( for current news and information. This site is no longer being updated. Parties interested in these projects and ongoing related activities may contact Dr. Tom Allen, past Director of RENCI@ECU at



Eye-tracking (left) and brainwave (right) devices.

Variations on the "cone of uncertainty."

Download project brief sheet.

Project Bio-Viz is a multidisciplinary research effort at RENCI at ECU examining how people interpret hurricane forecast maps. The project links hurricane modeling, cartography and geovisualization, visual motor research, and risk communications specialists. Research subjects are shown different types of hurricane forecast maps and visualizations of potential storm surges. While they are looking at the maps, staff simultaneously collect biometric data (e.g., eye-tracking, heart rate, facial muscle movement, and brainwaves) and quantitative and qualitative questionnaire responses.

The project begins with the analysis of the hurricane “Cone of Uncertainty,” alternative map designs, storm surge visualizations, and scenario-based evacuation decision-making. By understanding how people perceive and react to these maps, we hope to learn and inform forecasters and emergency managers how they can better communicate risks in the future.

Bio-Vis Example 2Bio-Vis Example 3

The green lines and red circles describe participants' eye movements and fixations as they viewed these maps. Click the maps to view larger images.