Spatial Mental Models and Navigation Support Apps for People who are Blind – a Case Study

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Spatial Mental Models and Navigation Support Apps for People who are Blind – a Case Study by David Brown, Lindsay Evett, Malcolm Harrison, Allan Ridley & Nick Shopland

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  • External frames of reference and map based strategies are more efficient and flexible – easier to remember, alternative routes can be taken, shortcuts made and destinations changed because they encompass a more complete spatial representation (Martinsen et al, 2007)Mental models are a vital part of advanced O&M skills, knowing where you are at all times is essential and without these skills it would be impossible to attempt to navigate unknown outdoor spaces (creates prior knowledge, confidence, back up plan if real time technology goes down…)Active exploration of virtual worlds and accessible maps to support development of map-based strategies and spatial mental models (Tversky, 1993) to facilitate independent navigational skills (Cognitive Collages): Discusses issue of how people represent maps and outside spaces. They don’t have a copy of map in their head, what they do have is cognitive collages and spatial mental models. Cognitive collages are sort of areas you know, but don’t know they in between bits. Spatial mental models are really about what the representation is like – so you have landmarks which are of significance to you – like a big tower or your mates house and they always seem closer than they actually are. When describing where something is you would say where they are in relation to such landmarks – always described in relative terms. Give people the targets that mean something to them.Can use at leisure (unlike real world support): first person, regular practice in a safe environment.Map-based better than GPS routes (Ishikawa et al, 2008): This study examined the effectiveness of a Global Positioning System (GPS)-based mobile navigation system in comparison to paper maps and direct experience of routes, by focusing on the user’s wayfindingbehavior and acquired spatial knowledge. Based on information received from one of these three media, participants walked six routes finding the way to goals. Results showed that GPS users traveled longer distances and made more stops during the walk than map users and direct-experience participants. Also, GPS users traveled more slowly, made larger direction errors, drew sketch maps with poorer topological accuracy, and rated wayfinding tasks as more difficult than direct-experience participants. Characteristics of navigation with these three learning media and possible reasons for the ineffectiveness of the GPS-based navigation system are discussed.
  • Find out about environment, benefits? Can just find out what’s out there – there are some benefits to this – familiarity…Find out about environment where known routes, benefits? Find out about area around known route, could help you deal with obstacles…..Find out about environment, extend route, new route, benefits?: As above with a fuller spatial mental model your ability to extend and find new routes and to navigate independently and with confidence increases. Similar questions for Haptic Maps, HaptiMaps (Ross, 2007; Bilbao et al, 2011; Brown et al, 2011) –similar questions to what we posed for Haptic Maps and Hapti Maps.Similar support but difference in scale and detail: for the cane we deal with indoor spaces, in AEGIS and associated prototypes we have outdoor spaces, some supported by GPS
  • The Virtual Cane (VC) designed for, but not restricted to, indoors; outdoors can use GPS and map-based apps:VC models indoor spaces and buildings (but could model outdoor spaces especially built up areas; for outdoor spaces there are a whole range of apps which use maps and GPS.There are a number of such apps which are accessible: As we move to third generation accessible solutions (e.g., AEGIS project) there is a drive to develop accessible map based apps to develop navigational skills and spatial mental models for people who are blind. As part of AEGIS we conducted usability evaluations of Haptic RIA Maps, TouchOver Map and NavPoint (HaptiMap project):Haptic RIA - partially sighted/blind users explore web-based street map using a force feedback/haptic device; TouchOver Map – Tablet and mobile based, Touch-based; user actions have a direct, reliable, relationship with maps; The PointNavHaptiMap prototype application allows scanning an area for points of interest, selecting one of them, finding out more about this point and being guided to it.RECALL and VC projects based on proposal that cognitive maps (Global Reference Frames, see Frankenstein et al, 2011) and spatial strategies more effective for independent travel that route guidance (Hill et al, 1993): because the encompass a much fuller representation of the route to be taken. They allow shortcuts to be made, alternative routes to be taken and even end points to be changed. Route guidance suppresses cognitive map development. What happens if technology fails, in scenario 1 you can use your cognitive map, in scenario 2 you are pretty stuck. AEGIS and HaptiMap prototypes, and other apps, support navigation; AEGIS and HaptiMap apps support Cognitive maps: these projects develop apps to develop navigational skills and cognitive maps and not route guidance.
  • HaptiMap demonstrator (HaptiMap, 2011)Has all the desirable attributes: user actions have a direct, reliable, relationship with maps - affordance Simple reference points (may need more on tablet) easy to use (2 blind users) can reproduce the map (2 blind users) BUT 1 blind user with resid. vision found areas with patchy feedback, frustrating and poor info.MS haptic mouse could have similar attributesTo have both would give desktop and mobile apps
  • Does model contain spatial relationships, allow multiple perspectives, sufficient for actual route finding? Possible tasks:Recreate map – can the provide a verbal description of the real worldDescribe routes from A to B and from C to B (or Orly tasks – find object and take to another posn. and reverse; point to direction of key landmarks and reverse; take to a new position and describe route to original postion)Study area where known route:demonstrate ability to deal with obstaclesextend known routecreate new route
  • Spatial Mental Models and Navigation Support Apps for People who are Blind – a Case Study

    1. 1. Spatial Mental Models and NavigationSupport Apps for People who are Blind Lindsay Evett, Malcolm Harrison, Allan Ridley, David Brown and Nick Shopland Interactive Systems Research Group (ISRG) Computing and Technology Team Nottingham Trent University, UK ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 1
    2. 2. Independent Travel• People who are blind generally use sequential, route- based strategies• Dependent on sighted guides to learn new routes in a sequential way (using cane, guide dogs)• Quite a few systems support navigation outside (e.g., Trekker, smart phone apps; some indoors – e.g., see Battersby, this session)• Some systems focus on obstacle avoidance, replacing sight, often have intrusive audio feed back• Better to complement existing methods (dog and cane), focus on goal (getting safely from A to B) and skills, in an effective and usable manner ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 2
    3. 3. ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 ‹#›
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    5. 5. Egocentric vs. Exocentric/Allocentric• Egocentric, sequential routes hard to learn (Martinsen et al, 2007)• Body (egocentric), rather than external (exocentric/allocentric), frame of reference• Those with more map based, exocentric, frames of reference perform better in navigational tasks (Simonnet et al, 2006)• Map based navigation better than GPS route-based (Ishikawa, et al, 2008)• “Cognitive maps” – enhance confidence, flexibility ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 5
    6. 6. Cognitive Maps• External frames of reference and map based strategies more efficient and flexible – easier to remember, can take alternative routes, shortcuts, change destinations – they offer a more complete spatial representation (Martinsen et al, 2007)• Active exploration of accessible maps to support development of map-based strategies and spatial mental models (Tversky, 1993) to facilitate independent navigational skills (Cognitive Collages)• Can use at leisure (unlike real world support) ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 6
    7. 7. Spatial Mental Models• Tversky (1993) – Mental representations of knowledge of environment not simply representations of maps (include memory of journeys, maps, directions, landmarks etc) – Disparate pieces of knowledge about environments – cognitive collages rather than single, coherent map; evidenced by errors of memory and descriptions – For well-known environments, representations of spatial layout quite accurate, allowing perspective taking, re-orientation, spatial inference – Spatial Mental Models; not metric but preserve coarse spatial relations and includes reference points ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 7
    8. 8. GPS vs Maps and Direct experienceIshikawa et al (2008) compared mobile GPS topaper maps and direct experience for walkingroutes: – GPS users travelled longer distances, made more stops than the others – GPS users travelled more slowly, made larger direction errors, drew poorer maps, found wayfinding more difficult than direct experience – Reasons? GPS maps small (how much surrounding area needed?); GPS has local focus; less experience with GPS ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 8
    9. 9. Spatial vs Route InformationOthers have pointed out the importance ofspatial, rather than just route, information: – Showing users their exact location relative to where they need to get to can help people who struggle with spatial skills – Oliver and Burnett – route guidance systems suppress cognitive map development – Lindstrom – necessary for people with disabilities to assimilate a mental map, and should be built in a mobile environment – Lindstrom – users with disabilities stress the importance of being located should they no longer be able to orientate themselves ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 9
    10. 10. Questions• Many navigational apps; how useful are they?• Find out about environment, benefits?• Find out about environment where known routes, benefits?• Find out about environment, extend route, new route, benefits?• Apps offer similar apparent (?) support but differences in scale, detail, availability of global information, accessibility ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 10
    11. 11. ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 ‹#›
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    15. 15. Evaluate Spatial Mental ModelsDoes the solution make spatial relationships available, allow multipleperspectives, sufficient for actual route finding? Possible tasks:1. Recreate map – verbal description or model2. Describe routes from A to B and from C to B (taking different perspectives)3. Real tasks in areas of a known route: • demonstrate ability to deal with obstacles • extend known route • demonstrate ability to orient with respect to reference points • create new route ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 15
    16. 16. Can Apps Support Independent Travel for People who are Blind?• New address, no routes, no chance of trainers• (Learnt route to get there through Google maps, Google street view, Trekker)• Use range of apps, with global and local information to support and supplement• Extend route(s), new routes?• Development of cognitive map? Is having a cognitive map better than routes alone? ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 16
    17. 17. Three New Routes!!• Explored street map of new area with TouchOver Map, for as long as wanted, and to find 3 targets – about 40 minutes• Active, independent exploration• From start point, point to targets and describe how to get there• Find those targets in the real world• Yes!!• NavPoint useful but tricky• Other apps not much help – WalkyTalky aims to do what Trekker does but didn’t work; new iPhone does ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 17
    18. 18. Further Evaluation• Spatial mental models: – Point to other locations? – Landmarks?• Is SMM memorable, can it be communicated?• Larger group – can others do it? – Compare with and without traditional training NB needs accessible set up, including search, size (s, m, l) and store ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 18
    19. 19. Location Based Services for People with Disabilities (this session)• Location-based services, route learning and navigational support for wide range of disabilities• Travel skills and confidence to learn new routes are core skills for leading independent lives• Showing users their exact location relative to where they need to get to, and significant points, can help people who struggle with spatial skills• Games-based learning• Incorporate haptic map? ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 19
    20. 20. Additional issues• Safety – can’t just wave a phone about• Moving it around could change responses (NavPoint)• Shoulder speaker/wizzy earphones• Phone calls!• Map accessibility in iOS 6; Walkit.com ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 20
    21. 21. Conclusions• User Centred Design, designing AT using technology that doesn’t mark out people as ‘other’, cheap, easily available, mainstream – address abandonment of AT• Haptic map supports/facilitates creation of Spatial Mental Models to support independent travel, independence for people who are blind• Haptic maps – outdoors (and indoors)• Location Based Services, navigation support – incorporate haptic maps (outdoors) Lewis et al, 2012• Virtual Cane – indoors (outdoors?) Battersby, 2012 ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 21
    22. 22. Contact Details Dr Lindsay Evett, Prof. David J. Brown and theInteractive Systems Research Group Computing and Technology Team NTU, UK Tel: +44 115 848 8359 lindsay.evett@ntu.ac.uk Tel: +44 115 848 8350 david.brown@ntu.ac.uk ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 22
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    24. 24. SourcesBattersby S J (2012), The mobile virtual cane, ITAG12, Nottingham UKBrown DJ, Standen PJ, Evett L, Battersby S and Shopland N. (2010). Designing Serious Games forPeople with Dual Diagnosis: Learning Disabilities and Sensory Impairments. In EducationalGaming. Chapter in Zemliansky, P and Wilcox, D. M., (eds), Educational Gaming, IGI GlobalBrown, D. J., Evett, L. J., Ridley, A., Shopland, N., Merritt, P., Harrison, M. and Van Isacker, K.(2011) Evaluation of Haptic RIA Maps and other navigational support systems for people who areblind, paper presented to 2nd International AEGIS Conference, Brussels, Belgium, November2011, pp 334-341, http://www.epr.eu/aegis/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/AEGIS_Conference_proceedings-final.pdfaccessed 9/1/12Frankenstein, J, Mohler, B, Bulthof, H H, and Meilinger, T (2011) Is the map in our head orientedNorth? Psychological Science, 23, 2: pp. 120-125HaptiMaps (2011). HaptiMap, Haptic, Audio and Visual Interfaces for Maps and Location BasedServices, http://www.haptimap.org/ accessed 23/11/11Hill E W, J. J. Rieser, M. Hill, J. Halpin, R. Halpin (1993). How persons with visual impairmentsexplore novel spaces: strategies of good and poor performers, J. Vis. Imp. andBlindness, 87, 8, pp. 295-301.Humanware (2012) Trekker Breeze, http://www.humanware.com/en-united_kingdom/products/blindness/talking_gps/trekker_breeze accessed 22/10/12Ishikawa, T., Fujiwara, H., Imai, O., and Okabe, A. (2008) Wayfinding with a GPS-based mobilenavigation system: A comparison with maps and direct experience, Journal of EnvironmentalPsychology, 28, 74-82 ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 24
    25. 25. Sources (contd.)Lewis, J., Popescu, C., Standen, P., and Saridaki, M. (2012) Evaluation of route learning softwareon Android for people with disabilities, ITAG12, Nottingham, UKLindstrom, J-I. (2006) New technologies to help people with disabilities and elderly people, inRoe, P. R. W. (ed) Towards and Inclusive Future: Impact and Wider potential of Information andCommunication Technologies, COST219ter, funded by the EU RTD FrameworkProgramme, http://www.snapi.org.uk/cost219ter/inclusive_future/index.htm accessed 22/10/12Martinsen, H., J. M. Tellevik, B. Elmerskog, M. Storlilokken (2007). Mental effort in mobility routelearning, Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 101, pp1-18.Oliver, K. J., G. E. Burnett, (2008). Learning-oriented vehicle navigation systems: a preliminaryinvestigation in a driving simulator. In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference onHuman–Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services. pp. 119–126.Poppinga, B., Pielot, M., Magnusson, C., and Rassmus-Grohn, K. (2011) TouchOver Map: Audio-tectile exploration of interactive maps, MobileHCI 2011, Stockholm, Sweden, ACMSimonnet M, J-Y. Guinard J. Tisseau (2006) Preliminary work for vocal and haptic navigationsoftware for blind sailors, Proc. 6th Intl Conf. Disability, Virtual Reality & Assoc. Tech.(ICDVRAT), Esbjerg, Denmark, 2006, pp. 255-262.Tversky, B. (1993). Cognitive maps, cognitive collages and spatial mental models, in Frank, A Uand Campari, I (Eds.) Spatial Information Theory: A Theoretical Basis for GIS, Proceedings COSIT‘93, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 716, pp. 14-24, Springer, Berlin. ITAG 2012, Nottingham, 24th Oct 2012 25

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