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2D or 3D landmarks: how do they support navigation and wayfinding in stressful situations?

Authors: Sara Irina Fabrikant*, University of Zurich
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Cartography, Behavioral Geography
Keywords: empirical study, map design, navigation, EEG, eye tracking
Session Type: Paper
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Well-designed mobile, human responsive geographic information technology could improve the lives of millions of mobile smart citizens who daily need to make time critical and societally relevant decisions on the go. We will report on an empirical wayfinding study conducted with Swiss military personnel in an unknown urban environment outdoors. We asked military search and rescue experts to first follow a given route using a digital navigation device to reach buildings with people in distress, as fast as possible. Half of the participants were asked to follow the same route in the reverse direction. After reaching the final destination, we disoriented participants, escorted them to a place with no view over the study area, and administered a series of judgements of relative distance to assess participants' survey knowledge about the configuration of the five visited landmarks. Next, we asked them to fill out a NASA TLX questionnaire, assessing their self-reported cognitive load regarding the navigation task. We also evaluated two 2D map displays containing either task relevant landmarks highlighted as 2D symbols (orthographic perspective), or with photorealistic 3D symbols (oblique perspective) on the 2D map. We recorded participants’ decision-making activities during navigation, using mobile electroencephalogram (EEG), and eye tracking. Participants were also asked to fill in socio-demographic questionnaires and respond to standardized instruments, assessing their background, training, spatial abilities, etc. This study will provide empirically validated evidence on the role that landmark visualization plays in pedestrians' visual attention and spatial learning during navigation in time critical situations.

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