Maps beyond Diagrams: Real-World Spatial Orientation

Clare Davies

Cognitive models of orientation using aerial-view 2D diagrams such as maps could help us to predict where their contents and design help, or hinder, cognitive processes, resulting in more usable map designs for situations where orientation is a common problem. However, the complex realities of geographic space, and the large scale transformations required with maps, make it less easy to model even basic processes such as orientation. This paper sets the context for ongoing work at Ordnance Survey, Great Britain’s national mapping agency, to attempt to apply and extend cognitive modeling in order to enable (and ultimately perhaps to automate) decisions about geographic information provision for assisting real-world orientation tasks.

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