Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date




Conference Name

1st International Arabian-Gulf Security Conference, American University in the Emirates


This paper contends that Maritime Domain Awareness Center (MDAC) design should be a holistic approach integrating established knowledge about human factors, decision making, cognitive tasks, complexity science, and human information interaction. The design effort should not be primarily a technology effort that focuses on computer screens, information feeds, display technologies, or user interfaces. The existence of a room with access to vast amounts of information and wall-to-wall video screens of ships, aircraft, weather data, and other regional information does not necessarily correlate to possessing situation awareness. Fundamental principles of human-centered information design should guide MDAC design and technology selection, and it is imperative that they be addressed early in system development. The design approach should address the reason and purpose for a given MDAC. Subsequent design efforts should address ergonomic interaction with information – the relationship of the brain to the information ecosystem provided by the MDAC, and the cognitive science of situation awareness and decision making. This understanding will guide technology functionality. The system user and decision maker should be the focus of the information design specifications, and this user population must participate and influence the information design. Accordingly, this paper provides a “design gestalt” by which to approach the design and development of an MDAC.

Original Publication Citation

Gomez, G. (2021). The Maritime Domain Awareness Center– A Human-Centered Design Approach. Paper presented at the 1st International Arabian-Gulf Security Conference, American University in the Emirates. 32 pp.