Schematic vs. Topographic Maps in Pedestrian Navigation: How Much Map Detail is Necessary to Support Wayfinding

Georg Gartner and Verena Radoczky

Until today maps have proven to be a very efficient presentation form when communicating route information to people. Yet many different types of maps, with different styles and different extent, are used without any evidence about their auxiliary qualities in wayfinding. Traditional city maps contain a lot of detail and could therefore overload the user with information. Possibly the user gets distracted and is hindered in his wayfinding task. Schematic maps, on the other hand, usually lack information that could help a pedestrian to find his way. Presumingly the most helpful information source for pure navigation purposes is a cross of a topographic and a schematic map. This submission describes current efforts at the Technical University of Vienna to prove the effectiveness of certain levels of map abstraction for route communication in pedestrian navigation systems.

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