A Formal Model of the Process of Wayfinding in Built Environments

  • Martin Raubal
  • Michael Worboys
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1661)


Previous recent research on human wayfinding has focused primarily on mental representations rather than processes of wayfinding. This paper presents a formal model of some aspects of the process of wayfinding, where appropriate elements of human perception and cognition are formally realized using image schemata and affordances. The goal-driven reasoning chain that leads to action begins with incomplete and imprecise knowledge derived from imperfect observations of space. Actions result in further observations, derived knowledge and, recursively, further actions, until the goal is achieved or the wayfinder gives up. This paper gives a formalization of this process, using a modal extension to classical propositional logic to represent incomplete knowledge. Both knowledge and action are represented through a wayfinding graph. A special case of wayfinding in a building, that is finding one’s way through an airport, is used to demonstrate the formal model.


Wayfinding Image Schemata Affordances Spatial Reasoning Knowledge Frames Logic Graphs 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Raubal
    • 1
  • Michael Worboys
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeoinformationTechnical University ViennaVienna
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceKeele UniversityKeeleUK

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