Assessment of Visualization Interfaces for Assisting the Development of Multi-level Cognitive Maps

  • Hengshan Li
  • Richard R. Corey
  • Uro Giudice
  • Nicholas A. GiudiceEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9744)


People often become disoriented and frustrated when navigating complex, multi-level buildings. We argue that the principle reason underlying these challenges is insufficient access to the requisite information needed for developing an accurate mental representation, called a multi-level cognitive map. We postulate that increasing access to global landmarks (i.e., those visible from multiple locations/floors of a building) will aid spatial integration between floors and the development of these representations. This prediction was investigated in three experiments, using either direct perception or Augmented Reality (AR) visualizations. Results of Experiment 1 demonstrated that increasing visual access to a global landmark promoted multi-level cognitive map development, supporting our hypothesis. Experiment 2 revealed no reliable performance benefits of using two minimalist (icon-based and wire-frame) visualization techniques. Experiment 3, using a third X-ray visualization, showed reliably better performance for not only a no-visualization control but also the gold standard of direct window access. These results demonstrate that improving information access through principled visualizations benefit multi-level cognitive map development.


Multi-level indoor wayfinding Multi-level cognitive maps Human factors Visualization interface design X-ray visualization 



This research was supported by NSF grant CHS-1425337 and NIH grant R01-EY019924-07.


  1. 1.
    Tolman, E.C.: Cognitive maps in rats and men. Psychol. Rev. 55, 189–208 (1948)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    O’Keefe, J., Nadel, L.: The hippocampus as a cognitive map. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1978)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Li, H., Giudice, N.A.: Using mobile 3D visualization techniques to facilitate multi-level cognitive map development of complex indoor spaces. In: Graf, C., Giudice, N.A., Schmid, F. (eds.) Proceedings of the International Workshop on Spatial Knowledge Acquisition with Limited Information Displays, SKALID 2012, Monastery Seeon, Germany, pp. 31–36, August 2012Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Li, H., Giudice, N.A.: The effects of 2D and 3D maps on learning virtual multi-level indoor environments. In: Proceedings of the 1st ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Map Interaction, pp. 7–12. ACM, Orlando (2013)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Vidal, M., Berthoz, A.: Navigating in a virtual 3D maze: body and gravity, two possible reference frames for perceiving and memorizing. Spat. Cogn. Comput. 5, 139–161 (2005)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Yartsev, M.M., Ulanovsky, N.: Representation of three-dimensional space in the hippocampus of flying bats. Science 340, 367–372 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jeffery, K.J., Jovalekic, A., Verriotis, M., Hayman, R.: Navigating in a three-dimensional world. Behav. Brain Sci. 36, 523–587 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Finkelstein, A., Derdikman, D., Rubin, A., Foerster, J.N., Las, L., Ulanovsky, N.: Three-dimensional head-direction coding in the bat brain. Nature 517, 159–164 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hölscher, C., Büchner, S., Strube, G.: Multi-floor buildings and human wayfinding cognition. Behav. Brain Sci. 36, 551–552 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Klatzky, R.L., Giudice, N.A.: The planar mosaic fails to account for spatially directed action. Behav. Brain Sci. 36, 554–555 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wang, R.F., Street, W.N.: What counts as the evidence for three-dimensional and four-dimensional spatial representations? Behav. Brain Sci. 36, 567–568 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Garling, T., Böök, A., Lindberg, E., Arce, C.: Is elevation encoded in cognitive maps? J. Environ. Psychol. 10, 341–351 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tlauka, M., Wilson, P.N., Adams, M., Souter, C., Young, A.H.: An investigation into vertical bias effects. Spat. Cogn. Comput. 7, 365–391 (2007)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Giudice, N.A., Li, H.: The effects of visual granularity on indoor spatial learning assisted by mobile 3D information displays. In: Stachniss, C., Schill, K., Uttal, D. (eds.) Spatial Cognition 2012. LNCS, vol. 7463, pp. 163–172. Springer, Heidelberg (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hölscher, C., Meilinger, T., Vrachliotis, G., Brösamle, M., Knauff, M.: Up the down staircase: wayfinding strategies in multi-level buildings. J. Environ. Psychol. 26, 284–299 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Carlson, L.A., Hölscher, C., Shipley, T., Conroy, D.R.: Getting lost in buildings. Curr. Dir. Psychol. Sci. 19, 284–289 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Steck, S.D., Mallot, H.A.: The role of global and local landmarks in virtual environment navigation. Presence Teleoperators Virtual Environ. 9, 69–83 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Giudice, N.A., Walton, L.A., Worboys, M.: The informatics of indoor and outdoor space: a research agenda. In: 2nd ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Indoor Spatial Awareness, pp. 47–53 (2010)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Dey, A., Sandor, C.: Lessons learned: evaluating visualizations for occluded objects in handheld augmented reality. Int. J. Hum Comput Stud. 72, 704–716 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Loomis, J.M., Klatzky, R.L., Golledge, R.G., Philbeck, J.W.: Human navigation by path integration. Wayfinding Behav. Cogn. Mapp. other Spat. Process 125–151 (1999)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hengshan Li
    • 1
  • Richard R. Corey
    • 1
  • Uro Giudice
    • 1
  • Nicholas A. Giudice
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Spatial Informatics Program: School of Computing and Information ScienceUniversity of MaineOronoUSA

Personalised recommendations