Spatial Orientation and Wayfinding
Darken, Rudolph P.
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Everyone has been disoriented at one time or another. It is an uncomfortable, unsettling feeling to be unfamiliar with your immediate surroundings and unable to determine how to correct the situation. Accordingly, we might think that the goal of navigation research in virtual environments is to create a situation where everyone is oriented properly all the time and knows exactly where everything is and how to get there. This, however may not be absolutely correct. Much is gained from the navigation process beyond just spatial knowledge. The path of discovery rarely lies on a known road. The experience of serendipitous discovery is an important part of human navigation and should be preserved. But how do we resolve the conflicts between this and the not-so-pleasant experience of lostness?