Showing posts with label scale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scale. Show all posts

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Mental Maps

Jacobson, R. D. (2006) Mental Maps. In: Warf, B. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Sage: London. pp. 299-301. Invited

A mental map is psychological or internal representation of places. The term arose during the psychological turn in human geography in the late 1960s as a key component of behavioral geography which concerned itself with addressing the role of  environmental perception as a mediating factor between a humans action and their environment. Mental maps were viewed as a tool, a key to unlocking the connection between someone's understanding of their environment and their spatial choices and behavior.  This was an
explicit attempt to explain human spatial activities by understanding them overlain upon a foundation of human behavioral processes. Mental maps are one of many terms  now known by  the umbrella term  of  cognitive  mapping. The  rationale for their study is straightforward:  our quality of life is greatly dependent on our ability to make informed spatial decisions through the processing and synthesis of spatial information, within a variety of situations, at differing  scales.  While attempting to navigate or explore an
environment we all have a spatial awareness of our surroundings, to varying extents. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Talking tactile maps and environmental audio beacons: An orientation and mobility development tool for visually impaired people

Jacobson, R.D. (1996) Talking tactile maps and environmental audio beacons: An orientation and mobility development tool for visually impaired people, Proceedings of the ICA Commission on maps and graphics for blind and visually impaired people, 21-25 October, 1996, Ljubjiana, Slovenia.


Pedestrian navigation through the built environment is a fundamental human activity. Environmental scales may range from the micro, the room of a house, to the macro, a cityscape, for example. In order to navigate effectively through this range of environments visually impaired people need to develop orientation and mobility skills. Auditory beacons, accessed in a model as a talking tactile map and in the environment by beacons which transmit audio messages to a small receiver carried by the pedestrian, serve to integrate the model representation and the environment, and act as mobility and orientation development tool. This technical approach is assessed using a multi-task analysis of the cognitive maps of people using the system when learning a new route. Although analysis was not conclusive, those who used the system expressed great interest, suggesting that both maps and audio complimented and enhanced each other. This study demonstrates that access to audio beacons in environment and model leads to increased spatial comprehension and confidence about the route and shows the need for a mixture of quantitative and qualitative approaches when assessing cognitive mapping ability.

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