Cognitive Processing

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 109–125 | Cite as

Conceptual layers and strategies in tour planning

  • Thora TenbrinkEmail author
  • Inessa Seifert
Research Report


We present an exploratory study of an everyday navigation planning situation, addressing spatial planning strategies as well as cognitive shifts between the visually available map and the conceptualized real-world environment. Participants were asked to plan a diversified holiday route on an island, with the help of a map representing spatial as well as activity information. Following the task proper, they reported in written form about the problem-solving process. Route trajectories were analyzed with respect to their properties, and reports were analyzed with respect to the represented concepts and linguistic patterns. Results reveal that route trajectories tended to be circular rather than random, with relatively few detours or crossing lines. The underlying spatial planning strategies as represented in the written reports resembled earlier findings on the Traveling Salesperson Problem, providing insights into the extent to which this abstract task transfers to a naturalistic scenario. Most crucially, our linguistic analysis provides new results about the representation of conceptual layers when considering the real-world navigation domain of traveling in relation to the actual table-top map planning domain.


Tour planning Conceptual layers Strategies Spatial cognition Discourse analysis Traveling salesperson problem 



Funding by the DFG (SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition Bremen/Freiburg, R1-[ImageSpace]) and the Volkswagen Foundation (Tandem project “Wayfinding strategies in behavior and language”) is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Jan Wiener and Alexander Klippel for insightful comments.


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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.DFKI GmbHBerlinGermany

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