Abstract: Augmented reality (AR) navigation aids have become widely used in pedestrian navigation, yet few studies have verified their usability from the perspective of human spatial cognition, such as visual attention, cognitive processing, and spatial memory. We conducted an empirical study in which smartphone-based AR aids were compared with a common two-dimensional (2D) electronic map. We conducted eye-tracking wayfinding experiments, in which 73 participants used either a 2D electronic map or AR navigation aids. We statistically compared participants’ wayfinding performance, visual attention, and route memory between two groups (AR and 2D map navigation aids). The results showed their wayfinding performance did not differ significantly. Regarding visual attention, the participants using AR tended to have significantly shorter fixation durations, greater saccade amplitudes, and smaller pupil sizes on average than the 2D map participants, which indicates lower average cognitive workloads throughout the wayfinding process. Considering attention on environmental objects, the participants using AR paid less visual attention to buildings but more to persons than the participants using 2D maps. Sketched routes results revealed that it was more difficult for AR participants to form a clear memory of the route. The aim of this study is to inspire more usability research on AR navigation.
To cite this article: Weihua Dong , Yulin Wu , Tong Qin , Xinran Bian , Yan Zhao , Yanrou He , Yawei Xu & Cheng Yu (2021): What is the difference between augmented reality and 2D navigation electronic maps in pedestrian wayfinding?, Cartography and Geographic Information Science.