Supporting Map-Based Navigation with Tactile Cues

Pielot, Martin and Henze, Niels and Boll, Susanne and
Paper maps are a proven means for navigating in unfamiliar environments, however, they do not prevent people from getting lost or taking unwanted detours. A well-known issue is interpreting the map's geocentric content, which is known to become prone to errors when the map is not aligned to the environment. In this paper we report our investigation of providing a cue about the destination's location from an egocentric perspective in order to improve the interpretation of the map. We used a vibrotactile belt to continuously indicate a destination's direction relative to the user's orientation. In an outdoor field study we compared the performance of map-based navigation with and without the added tactile cue. We found evidence that people take shorter routes, consult the map less often, and were less often disoriented with the tactile cue. Furthermore, females found the tactile cue more useful and used it more often.
09 / 2009
Haptic, Audio and Visual Interfaces for Maps and Location Based Services