August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
Digital Map Reading: Experiments investigating different wayfinding tasks in familiar and non-familiar locations
Author Affiliations
  • Suzanne Gage
    Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
  • Jan Noyes
    Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
  • Martin Groen
    Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 1024. doi:10.1167/9.8.1024
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      Suzanne Gage, Jan Noyes, Martin Groen; Digital Map Reading: Experiments investigating different wayfinding tasks in familiar and non-familiar locations. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):1024. doi: 10.1167/9.8.1024.

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Abstract

Advances in digital technology and computing have led to the development of numerous online map services and ‘wayfinding’ devices, indicating that the use of electronic maps has become widespread. However, little research has been undertaken investigating how people use maps, in particular online maps and digital displays. Two eye-tracking experiments were carried out, one using the dynamic google maps (available at http://maps.google.co.uk), and the other using a static digital map display. People completed 3 different tasks designed to invoke different types of map reading, in a familiar and non-familiar location. In the first experiment, 3 different map display types were compared (ie. regular, satellite and satellite overlay maps), and the second experiment compared task performance in static maps and investigated individual differences in spatial ability, using Hegarty et al. (2002)'s Santa Barbara Sense of Direction Scale (SBSOD). Results of the first experiment indicated a significant effect of familiarity of location on speed and accuracy. The second experiment showed a similar effect of familiarity, and an effect of a person's spatial ability. This study represents a naturalistic task that is relevant in the current age of digital map use, and is therefore relevant in assessing how humans interact with these displays, and also whether there are particular map display types that are associated with successful accomplishment of different tasks.

M. Hegarty, A. E. Richardson, D. R Montello, K. Lovelace, and L. Subbiah. (2002). Development of a self-report measure of environmental spatial ability. Intelligence, 30, 425-477.

Gage, S. Noyes, J. Groen, M. (2009). Digital Map Reading: Experiments investigating different wayfinding tasks in familiar and non-familiar locations [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):1024, 1024a, http://journalofvision.org/9/8/1024/, doi:10.1167/9.8.1024. [CrossRef]
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