A method for calibrating the spatial coordinates of a visual display to high accuracy

Laurence T. Maloney, Kyunghee Koh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-resolution CRT displays are subject to geometric distortion: lines that are straight in the internal coordinates of the graphics software and hardware are curved when projected onto a plane in the observer's line of sight. As the available resolution of CRT screens increases, it becomes more difficult to measure and correct for this distortion. We present a simple, highly accurate method for determining the mapping between internal coordinates and the viewing plane. It requires that an observer, using a calibration program, adjust triples of displayed points until they are collinear. A metal straightedge placed between the observer and the screen aids in this judgment. We describe the calibration of an IBM Enhanced Graphics Display in high-resolution mode (350 × 640 pixels), and illustrate how to use the estimated mapping to choose internal coordinates to draw undistorted figures that are accurate to within 0.5 pixel. The method can be used to assess or to correct the accuracy of visual displays. The method is relevant to experiments in spatial vision, spatial perception, perception of dot patterns, and any application in which geometrically accurate stimuli are required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-389
Number of pages18
JournalBehavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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