Exploring the use of landmarks for mobile navigation support in natural environments
Landmarks are a key element in navigation and have been used extensively to provide navigation support to pedestrians through mobile devices in urban areas. Natural environments differ significantly from built environments in a number of ways including, for example, the degree of structure and regularity, the types and density of landmarks, and the way in which people navigate in those environments. In this paper, we investigate how people currently navigate 'in the wild', and whether landmark-based navigation support through mobile devices is a feasible option in such settings. We present results from two studies: a questionnaire-based study focussing on current practice and the use of landmarks, and a qualitative lab-based study using immersive panoramic photographs and photographs of (natural) landmarks investigating the feasibility of landmark-based navigation support in natural environments. The results indicate that a small number of means are currently used for navigation in the wild, and that certain types of landmarks might be feasible for navigation support on mobile devices. We also found initial evidence that immersive panoramic photographs may constitute a promising way to evaluate mobile applications.