An investigation into challenges experienced when route planning, navigating and wayfinding

Erin Koletsis, C.P.J.M. Van Elzakker, M.J. Kraak, William Cartwright, Colin Arrowsmith, Kenneth Field

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17 Citations (Scopus)
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Some map users still experience difficulties when attempting to route plan, navigate and/or wayfind. This paper provides information on the outcomes of a research project that aims to identify the nature of the difficulties/challenges these users experience. The paper draws on findings from studies of strategies used by novice and experienced map users, and users with poor spatial abilities, to identify the skills that those with poor spatial abilities or with little map reading experience lack. Data were collected using Tobii Pro Glasses 2 hardware and associated software. Fourteen participants walked between two predetermined locations while wearing eye-tracking glasses and speaking their thoughts aloud. The data collected in this study were analysed using quantitative and qualitative approaches. Analysis of the results shows three key findings for this particular group: looking at the map incessantly led to missed environmental cues; street names were not labelled at decision-making points on the map; and some individuals having poor spatial abilities prefer small-scale landmarks, for example, buildings with numbers to locate themselves, as opposed to using road names or larger landmarks. We argue that by considering these findings, map designs could be adjusted to meet the needs of map users with poor spatial abilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-18
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Cartography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


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