Spatial Cognition: The Role of Landmark, Route, and Survey Knowledge in Human and Robot Navigation1

  • Steffen Werner
  • Bernd Krieg-Brückner
  • Hanspeter A. Mallot
  • Karin Schweizer
  • Christian Freksa
Part of the Informatik aktuell book series (INFORMAT)


The paper gives a brief overview of the interdisciplinary DFG priority program on spatial cognition and presents one specific theme which was the topic of a recent workshop in Göttingen in some more detail. A taxonomy of landmark, route, and survey knowledge for navigation tasks proposed at the workshop is presented. Different ways of acquiring route knowledge are discussed. The importance of employing different spatial reference systems for carrying out navigation tasks is emphasized. Basic mechanisms of spatial memory in human and animal navigation are presented. After outlining the fundamental representational issues, methodological issues in robot and human navigation are discussed. Three applications of spatial cognition research in navigation tasks are given to exemplify both technological relevance and human impact of basic research in cognition.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Cartwright, B.A. & Collett, T.S. (1982). How honey bees use landmarks to guide their return to a food source. Nature, 295, 560 – 564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cohen, G. (1989). Memory in the real world. Hove: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  3. Collett, T.S. & Baron, J. (1995). Learnt sensori-motor mappings in honeybees: interpolation and its possible relevance to navigation. J. comp. Physiol. A, 177, 287 – 298.Google Scholar
  4. Franklin, N., Tversky, B. & Coon, V. (1992). Switching points of views in spatial mental models. Memory & Cognition, 20, 507 – 518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Franz, M.O., Schölkopf, B., Georg, P., Mallot, H.A., & Bülthoff, H.H. (1997). Learning view graphs for robot navigation. In Proc. 1. Intl. Conf. onAutonomous Agents, 1997.Google Scholar
  6. Freksa, C. & Habel, C. (1990). Representation and Verarbeitung räumlichen Wissens. Berlin: Springer.zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gillner, S. & Mallot, H.A. (1997). Navigation and acquisition of spatial knowledge in a virtual maze. Technical Report 045, Max-Planck-Institut für biologische Kybernetik, Tubingen, Germany, Scholar
  8. Harder, A. (1993). Zur Aneignung von Wegen: Ein Feldversuch mit geburtsblinden Menschen. Unpublished dissertation, University of Giessen, Germany.Google Scholar
  9. Herrmann, Th. (1993). Mentale Representation — ein erläuterungsbedürftiger Begriff. In J. Engelkamp & Th. Pechmann (Hrsg.), Mentale Repräsentation (S. 17 – 30 ). Bern: Huber.Google Scholar
  10. Herrmann, Th . (1996). Blickpunkte and Blickpunktsequenzen. Sprache & Kognition, 15, S. 217 – 233.Google Scholar
  11. Maurer, R. & Séguinot, V. (1995). What is modelling for? A critical review of the models of path integration. J. theor. Biol., 175, 457 – 475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Nigro, G. & Neisser, U. (1983). Point of view in personal memories. Cognitive Psychology, 15, 467 – 482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Poucet, B. (1993). Spatial cognitive maps in animals: New hypotheses on their structure and nerual mechanisms. Psychological Review, 100, 163 – 182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Schölkopf, B. & Mallot, H.A. (1995). View-based cognitive mapping and path planning. Adaptive Behavior, 3, 311 – 348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Schweizer, K. (1997). Raumliche oder zeitliche Wissensorganisationn Zur mentalen Repräsentation der Blickpunktsequenz bei räumlichen Anordnungen. Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Sholl, M.J. (1987). Cognitive maps as orienting schemata. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 13, 615 – –628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steffen Werner
    • 1
  • Bernd Krieg-Brückner
    • 2
  • Hanspeter A. Mallot
    • 3
  • Karin Schweizer
    • 4
  • Christian Freksa
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and Computer ScienceUniversity of BremenGermany
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute for Biological CyberneticsTübingenGermany
  4. 4.Dept. of PsychologyUniversity of MannheimGermany
  5. 5.Department of Computer Science and Doctoral Program in Cognitive ScienceUniversity of HamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations