Global Landmarks in a Complex Indoor Environment

Authors Cristina Robles Bahm, Stephen C. Hirtle

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Cristina Robles Bahm
Stephen C. Hirtle

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Cristina Robles Bahm and Stephen C. Hirtle. Global Landmarks in a Complex Indoor Environment. In 13th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 86, pp. 18:1-18:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)


Wayfinding in complex indoor environments can be a difficult and disorienting activity. Many factors contribute to this difficulty, including the variable number of floors and half-floors paired with many different and often unpredictable ways to get from one floor to another. In order to explore how the spatial information of floor to floor transitions is represented cognitively, a user study was conducted at the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History that drew on experienced participants from the Visitor Services Department. The participants were asked to give wayfinding descriptions to and from several landmarks in the museums with the majority of the routes spanning multiple floors. It was found that floor to floor transition points were often represented as landmarks with notable locations in the Museums being represented with both functional and referential aspects. A functional aspect of a floor to floor transition points meant that its purpose in the wayfinding description was to provide a means to get from one floor to another. A referential quality meant that a floor to floor transition points was simply an indemnity and did not serve as a way to move vertically through the environment. This finding informs the discussion on global landmarks and their representation and salience in large complex indoor environments.
  • Navigation
  • wayfinding
  • indoor environments


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