Measuring Display System Resolution Precisely

Charles J. Lloyd
Visual Performance, LLC
St. Louis, Missouri

From the proceedings of the 2017 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), Orlando, Florida.


Spatial resolution is arguably the most important determinant of display system performance. However, the simulation training industry currently uses variations of low precision subjective measures of resolution to evaluate training display systems. Furthermore, these subjective methods are not applied consistently across programs or over the life of a single training device. Meanwhile, far more precise objective measures are commonly used to specify other less-influential display system attributes such as geometry, luminance, and white point.

This paper summarizes the results of a series of papers describing the research, development, and testing of an objective metric of display system resolution designed specifically to meet the needs of the simulation training industry. This multi-year R&D effort culminated in the development of a proposed standard Metric description, Test pattern definition, and measurement Procedure (MTP) that is provided for consideration by the simulation training community. Test results indicate the standard deviation of repeated measurements made using the proposed method is 1/12th of that obtained using the current subjective methods and the correlation between the proposed and current methods is strong (R2 = 0.79, 17 df). Multiple resolution measurements can be made across the field of view of a display system using a simple pan-tilt unit in 1/14th the time required using the current methods.

The substantial improvement in the precision of resolution measurements is expected to increase the probability that delivered systems will meet customer expectations and reduce arguments and delays during the acquisition of these complex systems. The significant improvement in measurement speed translates into the ability to make comprehensive measurements of complex display systems consistently across programs and over time.