Using other People’s Trails for Navigation Assistance

Erich Gams, Karl Rehrl, Daniel Kaschl (2007): Using other People’s Trails for Navigation Assistance In: Proceedings of the 5th Geographic Information Days, 10.-12. September 2007, Münster, Germany

Asking other people the way has always been a widespread social
wayfinding technique. In recent years wayfinding in unknown spatial
environments has increasingly been supported by electronic navigation
assistants. However, the social aspects of wayfinding, such as using other
peoples’, experiences, have widely been ignored in the context of electronic
navigation systems. In electronic environments such as the WWW the
availability of community knowledge – also driven by Web 2.0 paradigms –
becomes more and more valuable to users. Other people’,s experiences,
including recorded browsing paths and activities – so called user trails – are
used for recommendation and navigation support and allow users to navigate
vast information spaces more easily. In this paper we propose an approach
for trail-based navigation in physical environments. An analysis and
comparison of the concept of trails in both application areas establishes the
basis for a trail model and the implementation of a trail-based navigation
system prototype for mobile phones. Practical experiences with a prototype
application and potential applications of trail-based navigation assistants are
discussed in the context of a tourist scenario in the old town of Salzburg.

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