In recent years the cost of eye-tracking equipment has dramatically reduced, making it available for an increasing array of social science disciplines.

As  interest continues from many industries from marketing to universities we argue that eye-tracking data will turn into a ubiquitous urban data-mine. Yet, how can saccades and gazes in a naturalistic setting be useful to urban researchers and policy makers?

Drawing on reviews from environmental psychology and landscape studies, Dr Jodi Sita, Senior Lecturer at the Australian Catholic University together with CUR’s Marco Amati, discuss the importance of eye-tracking applications in urban research.

Sita and Marco will describe a pilot study that used eye-tracking to evaluate different parks in collaboration with the City of Melbourne. They showed high quality videos of a walk through parks to 35 participants and evaluated the amount of time they spent looking at different features (man-made objects such as light poles and signs, trees, bush, rocks, pathway etc.), relative to the time and area that these features occupied in the video.

The study demonstrates, on the one hand, the difficulty of linking likert scale derived opinions of videos of different parks with data from eye-tracking. On the other hand, it shows the relative attractiveness of man-made objects across a range of different participants.

Dr Jodi Sita

Dr Jodi Sita is Senior Lecturer in Neurosciences and Anatomy in the School of Science at ACU. Her research over the last 10 years has utilised eye tracking technology to examine various aspects of cognitive involvement as viewers engage in different tasks. She has worked with ALF coaches and players looking at skill development and also looked at expertise in forensic document examiners and in signature forgery and normal handwriting. She is part of a larger eye tracking researchers network she started and co-convenes; the Eye tracking and the Moving Image research group, and in this group she is working with a variety of researchers focusing on animation and narrative. Her extensive work using eye tracking has given her much experience with designing robust eye tracking experiments and data analysis.

Associate Professor Marco Amati

Marco Amati is an Associate Professor in International Planning. He teaches and coordinates “The Urban Age” course (HUSO2341) and History of Planning (ARCH1412), for the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. While mainly focusing on trees and green spaces within urban environments, Marco is also interested in e-planning, urban agriculture, planning history and Asian cities.

Image by Tobii via MyNewsDesk/CC BY 3.0


RMIT University, Building 56, Level 7, Room 91


23 August 2016