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Design concepts for learning spatial relationships

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Publication date1/12/2001
Number of pages9
Pages22-30
Original languageEnglish
EventSIGDOC 2001: Special Interest Group for Documentation Proceedings of the 19th Annual International Conference on Systems Documentation Communication in the New Millenium - Santa Fe, NM, United States
Duration: 21/10/200124/10/2001

Conference

ConferenceSIGDOC 2001: Special Interest Group for Documentation Proceedings of the 19th Annual International Conference on Systems Documentation Communication in the New Millenium
CountryUnited States
CitySanta Fe, NM
Period21/10/0124/10/01

Abstract

Maps are cognitive artifacts that represent not only the characteristics of the information space but also the use people make of the space. There are three privileged modalities by which humans learn the relationships in existing spaces: path-based learning, landmark-based learning and survey learning. These three modalities are differently sustained by maps and by the real environments. Maps afford Simultaneous experience of the space, Single point of view, Survey knowledge, Secondary spatial activity; while real environments afford Progressive Experience of the space, Multiple point of view, Procedural knowledge, Primary Spatial activity. The most important attempts to modify these differences between maps and real environments, and to merge their properties, have been: a) the creation of visual structures that enable focus + context views; b) the design of information landscapes that enable free flight in 3D space. The principles used to obtain such a view are the combination of Simultaneous and Progressive Experience of the space as a Primary spatial activity. We are designing new views for a graphic information system by merging the affordances of traditional maps and real environments for learning spatial relations. The emerging views will be presented and discussed from a theoretical point of view and exemplified in their application to the design of an information system for a National Park in Italy. The prototype of the information system was tested by human factors specialists and by end-users; the results of the test show both strength, and weakness, in the implementation of the proposed design concepts.