Usage of Landmarks in Virtual Environments for Wayfinding: Research on the influence of global landmarks

Yesiltepe, Demet, Dalton, Ruth, Torun, Ayse Ozbil, Dalton, Nick, Noble, Sam, Hornberger, Michael, Coutrot, Antoine and Spiers, Hugo (2019) Usage of Landmarks in Virtual Environments for Wayfinding: Research on the influence of global landmarks. In: 12SSS - 12th International Space Syntax Symposium, 8th - 13th July 2019, Beijing, China.

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The role of global landmarks - those seen from multiple, distant points - and local landmarks - those viewed from a close distance - in virtual environment wayfinding has been discussed in a number of papers (Steck and Mallot, 2000; Hurlebaus et al., 2008; Ruddle et al., 2011). Some focused on the idea that local landmarks are more effective (Ruddle et al., 2011); others mentioned that both global and local landmarks (Hurlebaus et al., 2008; Steck and Mallot, 2000) are influential on people’s wayfinding performance. Recently, some studies focused on the importance of global landmarks and they suggested that global landmarks, as points of reference, are more useful in orientation in virtual environments (Lin et al., 2012). Thus, in this paper, we aim to better understand the effect of global landmarks on wayfinding. We used different virtual game-environments and compared two different conditions: the presence of local landmarks versus the presence of both global and local landmark conditions. Participants from all around the world (n=1.3 million) contributed to the study and were asked to view maps of environments first, then navigate a boat to find specific destinations that had been indicated on the maps. Environments were analyzed using axial and segment based integration, choice and intelligibility as well as visual connectivity and integration. In addition, segment lengths and the number of decision points in the map’s layout were also analyzed. Levels with similar spatial layout values were chosen to compare the different landmark conditions. Preliminary findings indicate that global landmarks do not appear to have a significant impact on wayfinding. The large dataset underpinning this study contributes to our knowledge of the effect of landmarks by clarifying a gap in the literature - whether global and local landmarks or only one type of landmark are more influential on wayfinding.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Wayfinding, Local Landmarks, Global Landmarks, Virtual environments, Landmark
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Architecture and Built Environment
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Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2019 16:55
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 10:22

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