Usage of Landmarks in Virtual Environments for Wayfinding: Research on the influence of global landmarks

Demet Yesiltepe, Ruth Dalton, Ayse Ozbil Torun, Nick Dalton, Sam Noble, Michael Hornberger, Antoine Coutrot, Hugo Spiers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


The role of global landmarks - those seen from multiple, distant points - and local landmarks - those viewed from a close distance - in virtual environment wayfinding has been discussed in a number of papers (Steck and Mallot, 2000; Hurlebaus et al., 2008; Ruddle et al., 2011). Some focused on the idea that local landmarks are more effective (Ruddle et al., 2011); others mentioned that both global and local landmarks (Hurlebaus et al., 2008; Steck and Mallot, 2000) are influential on people’s wayfinding performance. Recently, some studies focused on the importance of global landmarks and they suggested that global landmarks, as points of reference, are more useful in orientation in virtual environments (Lin et al., 2012). Thus, in this paper, we aim to better understand the effect of global landmarks on wayfinding. We used different virtual game-environments and compared two different conditions: the presence of local landmarks versus the presence of both global and local landmark conditions. Participants from all around the world (n=1.3 million) contributed to the study and were asked to view maps of environments first, then navigate a boat to find specific destinations that had been indicated on the maps. Environments were analyzed using axial and segment based integration, choice and intelligibility as well as visual connectivity and integration. In addition, segment lengths and the number of decision points in the map’s layout were also analyzed. Levels with similar spatial layout values were chosen to compare the different landmark conditions. Preliminary findings indicate that global landmarks do not appear to have a significant impact on wayfinding. The large dataset underpinning this study contributes to our knowledge of the effect of landmarks by clarifying a gap in the literature - whether global and local landmarks or only one type of landmark are more influential on wayfinding.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2019
Event12th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2019 - Beijing, China
Duration: 8 Jul 201913 Jul 2019


Conference12th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2019


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