Referring to Landmark or Street Information in Route Directions: What Difference Does It Make?

  • Ariane Tom
  • Michel Denis
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2825)


When describing routes in urban environments, speakers usually refer to both street names and visual landmarks. However, a navigational system can be designed which only refers to streets or, alternatively, only to landmarks. Does it make any difference which type of information users are provided with? The answer to this question is crucial for the design of navigational aids. We report two experiments. The first one showed that in a wayfinding task, route directions referring to streets were less effective than those referring to landmarks for guidance purposes. The second experiment showed that when people generate route directions, they tend to produce less street than landmark information. These studies provide a further illustration of the critical role of landmarks in route directions.


Spatial cognition route directions streets landmarks urban navigation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ariane Tom
    • 1
  • Michel Denis
    • 1
  1. 1.Groupe Cognition HumaineLIMSI-CNRSOrsay CedexFrance

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