Maps to apps: Evaluating wayfinding technology

Sean P. Mullen, Daniel E. Palac, Lucinda L. Bryant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Technology assists wayfinding by delivering information about current locations, destinations, and travel paths and also providing corrective feedback en route to keep the traveler on course. Relevant low- and high-tech technologies include color schemes for defining regions on maps, contemporary voice-guided GPS, and futuristic 3-D hologram-technology. This chapter describes a range of wayfinding technologies and how they are being used. In so doing, the authors describe existing taxonomies and provide a preliminary framework to inform decisions about research and application of technology used to assist and assess wayfinding behavior. Existing literature has given the most attention to differentiating the features of emergent technology modalities (i.e., visual, vibration/tactile, auditory) used to deliver information for wayfinding purposes. Limited research on the efficacy and effectiveness of wayfinding technology has been conducted. The authors address feasibility of modalities, usability issues, and potential limitations of each technology. Additionally, they identify current and future challenges for the adoption of wayfinding technology applications. More work is necessary to understand the utility of these applications in larger, diverse samples, using better metrics to assess their impact (immediate and long-term goals), with a greater awareness of influential mediating factors (individual characteristics, socio-contextual factors) and potential side effects from a reliance on technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCommunity Wayfinding
Subtitle of host publicationPathways to Understanding
EditorsRebecca H Hunter, Lynda A Anderson, Basia L Belza
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319310725
ISBN (Print)9783319310701
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Global Position System
  • Reduce Travel Time
  • Route Knowledge
  • Global Position System Device
  • Smart Environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Engineering
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Psychology


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