SIMULATING NAVIGATION WITH VIRTUAL 3D GEOVISUALIZATIONS – A FOCUS ON MEMORY RELATED FACTORS
Keywords: 3D geovisualizations, user study, navigation, visuospatial memory, memory decline
Abstract. The use of virtual environments (VE) for navigation-related studies, such as spatial cognition and path retrieval has been widely adopted in cognitive psychology and related fields. What motivates the use of VEs for such studies is that, as opposed to real-world, we can control for the confounding variables in simulated VEs. When simulating a geographic environment as a virtual world with the intention to train navigational memory in humans, an effective and efficient visual design is important to facilitate the amount of recall. However, it is not yet clear what amount of information should be included in such visual designs intended to facilitate remembering: there can be too little or too much of it. Besides the amount of information or level of detail, the types of visual features (‘elements’ in a visual scene) that should be included in the representations to create memorable scenes and paths must be defined. We analyzed the literature in cognitive psychology, geovisualization and information visualization, and identified the key factors for studying and evaluating geovisualization designs for their function to support and strengthen human navigational memory. The key factors we identified are: i) the individual abilities and age of the users, ii) the level of realism (LOR) included in the representations and iii) the context in which the navigation is performed, thus specific tasks within a case scenario. Here we present a concise literature review and our conceptual development for follow-up experiments.