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Redefining Global and Local Landmarks: When Does a Landmark Stop Being Local and Become a Global One?

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Spatial Cognition XII (Spatial Cognition 2020)

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Landmarks are key elements in the wayfinding process. The impact of global and local landmarks in wayfinding has been explored by many researchers and a large body of evidence around landmarks and landmark usage has been discussed [1, 2]. However, there is one aspect of landmark research that is still not clear: when can a landmark be termed “global” as opposed to when can it be classified as being “local”? Is it necessary for a global landmark to be seen from any/every location in a setting [3], or is it acceptable if it is seen merely from many angles and many locations (and if so, how many?) [4]? At what point does a local landmark become a global landmark? Where is the threshold between these? In this study, our goal is to redefine global and local landmarks based on the visibility of landmarks along routes. For this purpose, we used Sea Hero Quest (an online game) and explored landmark visibility in virtual game environments to find if there is a threshold between local/global landmarks. Participants were asked to navigate a boat and to find goal locations in river/waterway environments. Meanwhile, the visibility of landmarks from the perspective of the game-player was recorded. This study contributes to the literature by demonstrating a new and innovative method of using landmark visibility to reclassify global and local landmarks.

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  1. 1.

    By conditions, we refer 1. weather (whether it is clear or foggy), 2. map (clear or obscured), 3.environment (5 different environments were designed for the game), and 4. landmark saliency (visually salient landmarks at accessible points –easy landmarks- or visually salient or less salient objects at segregated points –hard landmarks-) conditions. All these conditions were pre-defined by the researchers.


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Correspondence to Demet Yesiltepe .

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Yesiltepe, D. et al. (2020). Redefining Global and Local Landmarks: When Does a Landmark Stop Being Local and Become a Global One?. In: Šķilters, J., Newcombe, N., Uttal, D. (eds) Spatial Cognition XII. Spatial Cognition 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12162. Springer, Cham.

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