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Ask for Directions or Use a Map: a Field Experiment on Spatial Orientation and Wayfinding in an Urban Environment

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Meilinger,  T
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Meilinger, T., & Knauff, M. (2008). Ask for Directions or Use a Map: a Field Experiment on Spatial Orientation and Wayfinding in an Urban Environment. Journal of Spatial Science, 53(2), 13-23. doi:10.1080/14498596.2008.9635147.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-C61B-E
Abstract
When planning a route we usually study a map, ask other people for verbal directions, or use a route planner. Which source of information is most helpful? This experiment investigated human wayfinding and knowledge acquisition in urban environments. Participants were required to retrace two different routes learned either from route maps, or from verbal directions. This research shows that both maps and verbal directions are equally useful tools for conveying wayfinding knowledge. Even the survey knowledge of map-learners was not better. The authors argue that both verbal directions and maps are memorized in a language-based format, which is mainly used for wayfinding.