Routes to Remember: Comparing Verbal Instructions and Sketch Maps

Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


Sketch maps of routes have been widely used to externalize human spatial knowledge and to study wayfinding behavior. However, specific studies on what information and how people recall route information they obtain from verbal instructions by drawing sketch maps are limited. This chapter aims to know how much information, especially landmarks and streets, people recall after following a wayfinding task. We conducted an experiment and asked participants to draw a sketch map of the route they travelled. Landmarks were classified based on their locations on the route. Sketch maps were compared with verbal instructions to analyze what specific landmarks and street information people recalled as well as what other information was added. Our study showed that (1) landmarks along the route were sketched as often as landmarks located at decision points; (2) participants added landmarks and streets which were not mentioned in the verbal instructions. This chapter provides a better understanding of wayfinding strategies and spatial learning.


Route Sketch maps Verbal instructions Landmarks Streets Wayfinding 



We thank the support of Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) and the SketchMapia Project funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). Many thanks also go to all participants who took part in the experiment and Deborah Nyangulu for reviewing the final version of the chapter.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for GeoinformaticsUniversity of MuensterMuensterGermany

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