The Lay of the Land: Sensing and Representing Topography

Navigating, and studying spatial navigation, is difficult enough in two dimensions when maps and terrains are flat. Here we consider the capacity for human spatial navigation on sloped terrains, and how sloping terrain is depicted in 2D map representations, called topographic maps. First, we discuss research on how simple slopes are encoded and used for reorientation, and to learn spatial configurations. Next, we describe how slope is represented in topographic maps, and present an assessment, which can be administered to measure topographic map comprehension. Finally, we describe several approaches our lab has taken with the aim of improving topographic map comprehension, including gesture and analogy. The current research reveals a rich and complex picture of topographic map understanding, which likely involves perceptual expertise, strong spatial skills, and inferential logic.
Keywords spatial nagivation   maps   terrain   spatial representation   spatial cognition   topographic map comprehension
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DOI 10.4148/1944-3676.1099
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Cognition in the Wild.Edward Hutchins - 1995 - Critica 27 (81):101-105.

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