Indoor wayfinding systems

Navigating in complex buildings can be very challenging. As the indoor environment is cognitively different than the outdoor environment, people have different needs and preferences when navigating indoors. This research project aims at developing frameworks for adapted wayfinding systems that incorporate those needs and therefore, making indoor navigation more comfortable.

Wayfinding systems should be adapted to both their users and the indoor environment. This adaptation can be implemented in several components of a wayfinding aid, such as the route planning and the route communication. The route planning algorithms, currently implemented in these aids, are usually limited to shortest path calculations or derivatives. Guiding people along routes that adhere better to their cognitive processes could ease the wayfinder in the indoor environment. As for the route communication, most wayfinding aids only use one type of route instruction (e.g. map, text, photo, 3D). When the type of route instruction is adapted to the complexity of the environment, the right amount of information is provided in the most suitable manner.

To be able to link environmental perception to building structure, it first has to be defined which elements navigators perceive as complex or confusing. Eye-tracking can be used to this end as the gaze characteristics (e.g. fixation duration, sequence) of navigators can shed more light on the features that are confusing and complex in an environment. Additionally, landmarks can be identified with this technique, which are features that are distinctive and salient in an environment and useful for orientation. In a second step this environmental perception can be linked to building architecture by use of isovists, the space syntax theory and visibility graph analysis.

Research units

Staff members