What do we Do with what we Know? Using Spatial Cognition

The “Three Spaces of Spatial Cognition” article on three types of spaces was perhaps an interesting introduction to this way of thinking, but I felt it was lacking in its ability to situate this knowledge within the larger domain of geography.  It seemed evident that there was some agreement on how people perceive themselves with relation to space, and how they perceive space itself, but I would have liked a more in depth discussion of what we have been doing with that knowledge, or how it could be applied.  Perhaps a comprehensive overview would be too much for this one paper, but it would have been useful with regards to conceptualizing how this knowledge is used and useful.

I think there are a few possibilities that would have been pertinent to mention.  For example, maps as we traditionally know them are generally situated in a northward manner, and have common landmarks: roads, rivers, large place names, important topography, and so on.  Is this format useful for humans when thinking of the way we conceptualize space?  If we all orient ourselves based on various prior exposures and development, is it possible for a singular map to suit the needs of many?  Stemming from this would be an interesting question about the future of geovisualization and more dynamic “maps”, such as in-car navigation systems.  How might these be adapted to best suit the needs of the user?  In-car navigation systems often tilt the map based on the direction the car is going, so the next move can be conceptualized with regards to where the driver is facing–is this effective?  Does it make decisions happen faster?

These are the kinds of questions I would have like to have been addressed, or at least mentioned in this introduction, to communicate the importance of understanding WHY this knowledge of ourselves in space is “essential to our very survival”.



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