Knowing where one is located within an environment is one of the most fundamental tasks humans have to master in their daily routines. Maps, as external representations of the environment offer intuitive ways to extend the capacities of the human cognitive systems. Operations such as planning a route can be performed on maps instead of in the environment. Question of how to design maps that support cognitive processes such as wayfinding in novel environments have been discussed in several disciplines. The research reported here addresses the question of how map alignment and the presence of landmarks in maps interact during wayfinding. For the purpose of systematically analyzing the relationship between map alignment and landmark presence, nine virtual environments were designed. Routes learned from maps with different alignments and different numbers of landmarks present at decision points were used. While generally landmarks are assumed to foster wayfinding performance, our results indicate that misaligned maps can cancel out positive effects obtained through landmarks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth-Surface Processes