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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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London Cabbies Describe Finding Their Way Along a Complex Route

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in cognitive maps, Directional Sense, Finding your way as you drive, hippocampus, navigation, Wayfinding, wayfinding and the brain | 0 comments

London Cabbies Describe Finding Their Way Along a Complex Route

Directionally challenged people have to work hard to learn even short routes between places they frequent. And this is a great accomplishment! Would-be and actual London taxi drivers are at the opposite end of the wayfinding spectrum, probably as a result of outstanding, inherent spatial abilities, and absolutely as a result of years of dedicated, focused, arduous work. This New York Times video shows images along a seven-mile route through London and the 41(!) turns required to get from one...

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“The Knowledge” – The Ultimate Test of London’s Detailed Geography

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in asking directions, cognitive maps, Directional Sense, Directionally challenged, Finding your way as you drive, navigation, personal navigation, Uncategorized, wayfinding and the brain | 0 comments

“The Knowledge” – The Ultimate Test of London’s Detailed Geography

If you’ve ever wondered whether there’s a wayfinding Olympics, take a look at this extraordinary New York Times article by Jody Rosen describing the years of detailed navigation & wayfinding study (and resulting sacrifices) undertaken by people seeking to be official London taxi drivers. “The Knowledge,” has been called the most difficult mental undertaking and test in the world: requiring students to memorize the city’s 25,000 streets and every business and landmark on them....

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