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Which is More Confusing: Initial Wayfinding or Wayfinding Revisited?

Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 in cognitive maps, disorientation, getting lost, maps, navigation, subways, transit maps | 0 comments

Which is More Confusing: Initial Wayfinding or Wayfinding Revisited?

Which do you find more confusing: going to a place you’ve never visited before or going to a place you once knew well, but that has changed significantly? In an opinion piece in The New York Times, “London Lost and Found,” Mahesh Rao describes his literal and figurative confusion as he revisits London once or twice a year after he moved from there to India in 2008. As a visitor he looks more intently and sees small sights he missed when he was a resident. Rather than taking things for granted, such as unusual street names (“Birdcage...

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Sharks Find Their Way Using Smell

Posted by on Jan 8, 2016 in animal navigation, navigation, tracking, Wayfinding | 0 comments

Sharks Find Their Way Using Smell

Scientists are closer to solving one of the mysteries of how living creatures who can’t rely on GPS and wayfinding skills (unlike you, dear reader) find their way around. Take sharks, for example. Experts knew that sharks are guided by the earth’s magnetic field as they move in the ocean, but were curious about other factors, including smell, that might also influence navigation. A team of five investigators tracked leopard sharks, “a Pacific coastal species that makes foraging trips out to deeper waters.” In order to understand how...

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A Mapmaker for Self-Driving Cars

Posted by on Jan 7, 2016 in autonomous cars, maps, navigation, self-driving cars | 0 comments

A Mapmaker for Self-Driving Cars

If you’re directionally challenged, you may have dreamed of never having to navigate again as your car finds its way by itself. That day is edging ever closer as self-driving (autonomous) cars are being developed and tested. John Ristevski, of HERE, a global company that builds high-resolution maps, is one of the people who may make it possible for you (and your autonomous car) to navigate under normal conditions and even in a blizzard, when you can’t see the road in front of you. He and his staff are processing data “from more than...

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Who Navigates More Effectively: Men or Women? (Part 2 of 2)

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in Alzheimer's Disease, cognitive maps, disorientation, gender differences in navigation, hippocampus, personal navigation, Wayfinding, wayfinding and the brain | 0 comments

Who Navigates More Effectively: Men or Women? (Part 2 of 2)

In the study referenced in the previous blog post (Who Navigates More Effectively: Men or Women? (Part 1 of 2)), medical doctor and PhD candidate, Carl Pintzka, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim used an MRI scanner to monitor brain activity when 18 men and 18 women used 3D goggles and a joystick to orient themselves in a large virtual maze. He found that men were more effective and, in a followup study, when women were given a single drop of the male hormone, testosterone, they become better navigators. Aside...

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Who Navigates More Effectively: Men or Women? (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in gender differences in navigation, hippocampus, navigation, neuroscience, personal navigation, Wayfinding, wayfinding and the brain | 0 comments

Who Navigates More Effectively: Men or Women? (Part 1 of 2)

The 2015 wayfinding story that grabbed the most attention pertains to that old battle of the sexes (often taking place in the front seats of cars): who has the better sense of direction: men or women? Spoiler alert: in one Norwegian study, men did better at finding their way quickly in a virtual environment. The study was conducted by medical doctor and PhD candidate, Carl Pintzka, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. He used an MRI scanner to monitor brain activity when 18 men and 18 women used 3D goggles and a...

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World’s Largest You-Are-Here Map?

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in maps | 0 comments

World’s Largest You-Are-Here Map?

Maps come in all sizes, but here’s one in unofficial competition for “world’s largest”. It’s in Chicago on the 300 South Wacker Tower, showing the location of the building within the city. The “You-Are-Here” map/facade was designed by ESI Design. ————————————— If you’re directionally challenged you need the award-winning book, Directional Sense: How to Find Your Way Around, by Janet R. Carpman and Myron A....

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Google Maps Now Warns You about Traffic & Construction

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in apps, digital maps, Finding your way as you drive, Google Maps, GPS | 0 comments

Google Maps Now Warns You about Traffic & Construction

Google Maps is a pretty useful navigation aid, although not yet perfect. It now sports an updated feature telling you where to expect traffic and road construction and how long you may be stuck or need to proceed at a crawl. Read more about it here: http://ti.me/1LCqQ7n ————————————— If you’re directionally challenged you need the award-winning book, Directional Sense: How to Find Your Way Around, by Janet R. Carpman and Myron A....

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“Guerilla” Wayfinding Signs Encourage Walking

Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in bicycles, bike maps and directions, giving directions, signs, walkability | 0 comments

“Guerilla” Wayfinding Signs Encourage Walking

More and more, wayfinding signs are popping up in US towns and cities, directing unfamiliar drivers to key sites and facilities. A new, “guerrilla” wayfinding guidance system – called Walk [Your City] – is directed to pedestrians and cyclists instead. Focused on the twin themes of wayfinding and “walkability,” these signs encourage people on foot and on bikes to explore new destinations by giving them time/distance information (e.g. “15 minutes away”) and a QR code to scan for directions and information. The Walk [Your City]...

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Use Good Sense When Following GPS Commands

Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 in Google Maps, GPS | 0 comments

Use Good Sense When Following GPS Commands

While GPS and map apps are often thought of as life-savers by directionally challenged people, they should not substitute for good directional – or, at least, common – sense. Take a look at this “CBS This Morning” video showing footage of a car whose driver followed her Google Maps directions to the letter, even when signage and other cues strongly indicated otherwise. This true story of an Oregon driver is followed by a similar, fictional, GPS-inspired scene from the TV show, “The...

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What Does a Mental Map Look Like in 3D?

Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 in cognitive maps, maps, wayfinding and the brain | 0 comments

What Does a Mental Map Look Like in 3D?

As we skillfully or fitfully make our way from here to there, most of us develop some sort of mental images of the routes we travel. While we may come to “know” certain routes after repeated use, we can’t always communicate them well. Verbal descriptions may be imprecise and drawings may be, well, sketchy. Enter Claire Sauvaget, a French digital artist, who has devised a new way to depict her pedestrian commute using 3D-printed models. While the aptly titled “Mental Map” is a work of art, not a wayfinding aid, it offers a fascinating...

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