Davies, Clare and Peebles, David (2010) Spaces or scenes: Map-based orientation in urban environments. Spatial Cognition and Computation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 10 (2 & 3). pp. 135-156. ISSN 1387-5868

Two experiments examined people's strategies when orienting with a map in outdoor scenes within unfamiliar urban environments. We investigated how the 3D visual scene and the 2D layout geometry influenced people's choices of features when matching the scene and the map, and studied the problems they encountered when doing so. Results support previous evidence that in geographically realistic contexts, visible salient landmarks bias people away from using optimal geometry-matching strategies. This implies that prediction of orientation difficulty merely from analysing the spatial layout (e.g., with space syntax isovist measures) may be highly problematic. Implications for future map design are discussed.

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