I2-[MapSpace] - Research

Details about the Project

The long-term goal of this project is to develop a formal framework for adaptive wayfinding assistance systems. We use this framework to produce a theory for schematic representations of geographic information, specifically schematic maps. A basic assumption of the project is that schematization facilitates human diagrammatic reasoning as it simplifies cognitive processing. But this representation needs to be adapted to the task to ensure that required information is not over-simplified and can still be extracted.

We focus on wayfinding as a task; we devise theories to represent information such that it matches human conceptualization. And we develop appropriate means of externalizing this information in schematic representations. More specifically, we have developed a formal framework for route-following (see Schematization, Wayfinding Choremes, Context-Specific Rote Directions and OpenLS) and its accompanying processes to generate (cognitively) adequate route-following assistance.

Of special interest is the interaction between environment and its representation. We investigate the impact of structural and environmental characteristics on the conceptualization of the environment and, consequently, on approriate ways of representing the environment. We are interested in how integration of knowledge on landmarks, configurations of environmental features, or regions may improve the developed means of assistance. This requires an explicit consideration of the task's influence on human conceptualization, on the knowledge needed to successfully perform the task and, consequently, on the schematic representation of this knowledge for assistance; captured in the spatial context of the task. Our context model explicitly takes into account the environment, its representation and the acting agent(s).

We combine approaches from cognitive science, such as knowledge representation theory and computational modelling, and psychology: the development of computational models and systems is accompanied by empirical studies (Encoding of Spatial Information, Wayfinding Strategies, Evaluation of Assistance Means) to evaluate the effectiveness of map-based wayfinding assistance, which provides insights into principles of good (and bad) assistance and feed back to our system development. This combination allows a direct coupling of formal analysis and empirical results, thus, directly integrating representation-theoretic and cognitive principles into our theory of schematic representations.