A multiscale progressive model on virtual navigation

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17 Scopus citations


Navigation designs in virtual environments often draw on research findings on human navigation behaviors in the real world, in particular the landmark-route-survey spatial knowledge model. Geographers and cognitive psychologists have argued that this model is insufficient to capture the complexity of spatial cognition related to navigation. They have suggested that new theories are needed to understand the integration of various kinds of spatial knowledge and their relationship with spatial activities, such as route planning, route choosing and so on. In virtual environments, users can scale up and down the virtual space to obtain different spatial knowledge and interaction domains. Such flexibility offers an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the relationship between spatial knowledge and spatial action. This paper reports a study on how scaling in virtual environments can improve the integration of spatial knowledge and spatial action. This paper first proposes a multiscale progressive model that couples spatial knowledge and movement across scale in navigation in virtual environments. Then, the paper introduces the design of multiscale environments to support the coupling. Results of an experimental study show the benefits of the coupled spatial knowledge and movement for navigation involving subtasks at different scale levels. In addition to helping better understand the relationship between spatial knowledge and spatial action, this research also gives some insight into designs to support navigation in virtual environments as well as designs to support cross-scale spatial knowledge access in the real world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-256
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Education
  • Engineering(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture


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