Symposium "On the Modelling of Landmarks" accepted at ICSC 2021

The use of landmarks for navigation and wayfinding has been established as a fact by re- searches in spatial cognition and psychology (Lynch, 1960; Presson & Montello, 1988; Sorrows & Hirtle, 1999). However, how to identify good landmarks still remains a challenge. One reason is that everything standing out from a scene might be used as a landmark (Presson & Montello, 1988).

Numerous researchers examined the properties of landmarks and agreed upon so-called landmark dimensions - visual, semantic, and structural dimensions - explaining the salience of an object (Presson & Montello, 1988; Sorrows & Hirtle, 1999). While land- mark identification models based on these dimensions exist (Richter & Winter, 2014), they do not appear sufficient to ensure the identification of landmarks which would also be selected by humans (Nuhn, 2020). Besides the static landmark dimensions, which are dependent on an object itself, there are so called personal dimensions changing with each individual. They include dimensions such as personal interests, personal background, or prior spatial knowledge which influence the memory for salient landmarks (Albrecht & von Stülpnagel, 2018) and support traveller’s spatial orientation (Schwering et al., 2017). However, the first modelling approaches incorporating personal dimensions do not identify significantly more landmarks selected by humans than a non-personalised model (Nuhn, 2020). It seems that the interplay between different dimensions does not seem to be as simple as sometimes assumed - rather, some dimensions seem to be a precondition for the salience of a landmark (Hamburger, 2020).

In the symposium we will discuss different dimensions - landmark, personal, or others - with the goal of identifying the most important ones. We will examine how the dimensions interact to identify those that are most promising to be incorporated in landmark identification models.


The symposium includes four 20 minutes talks:

(1)  E. Nuhn & S. Timpf: Modelling of Landmark Dimensions

(2)  R. Albrecht & R. von Stülpnagel: Effects of landmark position and approach perspective on route retrieval

(3)  K. Hamburger: Understanding landmark-based wayfinding: On the search of core factors

(4)  A. Schwering & J. Krukar: A landmark’s role in spatial learning depends on its spatial extent



Albrecht, R., & von Stülpnagel, R. (2018). Memory for salient landmarks: Empirical findings and a cognitive model. In S. H. Creem-Regehr, J. Schöning, & A. Klippel (Eds.), Spatial cognition XI (Vol. 11034, pp. 311–325). Springer.

Hamburger, K. (2020). Visual landmarks are exaggerated: A theoretical and empirical view on the meaning of landmarks in human wayfinding. Künstliche Intelligenz, 34, 557-562.

Lynch, K. (1960). The image of the city. MIT press.

Nuhn, E. (2020). Modelling of personalised landmarks. PhD thesis, University of Augsburg, Faculty of Applied Computer Science.

Presson, C. C., & Montello, D. R. (1988). Points of reference in spatial cognition: Stalking the elusive landmark. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 6(4), 378–381.

Richter, K.-F., & Winter, S. (2014). Landmarks - giscience for intelligent services. Springer. Schwering, A., Krukar, J., Li, R., Anacta, V. J., & Fuest, S. (2017). Wayfinding through orienta-

tion. Spatial Cognition & Computation, 17(4), 273–303.

Sorrows, M. E., & Hirtle, S. C. (1999). The nature of landmarks for real and electronic spaces. In C. Freksa & D. M. Mark (Eds.), Cosit 1999 (Vol. 1661, pp. 37–50). Springer.