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Published June 25, 2024 | Version 1.0.0
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Wayfinding Stages: The Role of Familiarity, Gaze Events, and Visual Attention

  • 1. ROR icon TU Wien


How to Cite?

The paper is accepted for presenetation at COSIT2024, but it is not yet published.


Understanding the cognitive processes involved in wayfinding is crucial for both theoretical advances and practical applications in navigation systems development. This study explores how gaze behavior and visual attention contribute to our understanding of cognitive states during wayfinding. Based on the model proposed by Downs and Stea, which segments wayfinding into four distinct stages: self-localization, route planning, monitoring, and goal recognition, we conducted an outdoor wayfinding experiment with 56 participants. Given the significant role of spatial familiarity in wayfinding behavior, each participant navigated six different routes in both familiar and unfamiliar environments, with their eye movements being recorded. We provide a detailed examination of participants’ gaze behavior and the actual objects of focus. Our findings reveal distinct gaze behavior patterns and visual attention, differentiating wayfinding stages while emphasizing the impact of spatial familiarity. This examination of visual engagement during wayfinding explains adaptive cognitive processes, demonstrating how familiarity influences navigation strategies. The results enhance our theoretical understanding of wayfinding and offer practical insights for developing navigation aids capable of predicting different wayfinding stages. 


The data used in this paper is a CSV file (licensed under CC BY 4.0) that contains the following information:

  • world_index: the scene video frame index
  • fixation_duration: duration of the fixation
  • x_fixation: corrected x coordinate of the fixation from the head movement impact
  • y_fixation: corrected y coordinate of the fixation from the head movement impact
  • synced_timestamp: timestamp of the event
  • stage: the wayfinding stage according to Downs and Stea theory 
  • yolo_label: predicted label by Yolo
  • segmentation_label: predicted label by Mask2Former
  • semantic_label: the selected semantic label detected by MYFix
  • duration: duration of the stage
  • saccade_duration: duration of the corrected saccade
  • saccade_length: length of the corrected saccade
  • participant_id: anonymized id for the participants
  • familiarity: spatial familiarity of the participants (binary)
  • routeID: id of the routes



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