The Transfer of Spatial Knowledge from Virtual to Natural Environments as a Factor of Map Representation and Exposure Duration
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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Terrain navigation is a critical skill in the military. Virtual environments VEs have been suggested as a possible tool in training spatial knowledge. However, little research has been conducted into the ability of VEs to impart spatial knowledge of a real world area. This thesis research addresses the utility of VEs to impart spatial knowledge of a natural terrain area compared to traditional methods. Twenty subjects were divided into four training conditions in two experiments. The first experiment had a VE and map only group and trained to a set standard rather than to a time. The second experiment also had a map only and VE group, but trained one hour with a low fidelity map 124,000 scale as compared to 15,000 scale in earlier experiments. Measures were taken of landmark, route, and survey knowledge. The results suggest that, 1 subjects who trained to standard using a VE demonstrated superior route and landmark knowledge to any other group, 2 spatial ability plays a significant role in navigation performance, and 3 adjusting the fidelity of the map causes individuals to adjust their planned routes to the information that is provided. Furthermore, while good map reading does not guarantee success, poor map reading skills invite failure. Finally, if time is limited, a detailed ma is referable to other methods.
- Cartography and Aerial Photography