Communal ontology for navigation support in urban region: Getting directions from familiar landmarks
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Due to the growing popularity of mobile information technology, more people, especially in the public, have access to computerized geospatial information systems for wayfinding tasks or urban navigation. One of the problems with the current services is that, whether the users are exploring or navigating, whether they are travelers who are totally new to a region or long-term residents who have a fair amount of regional knowledge, the same method is applied and the direction are given in the same way. However, spatial knowledge for a given urban region expands in proportion to residency. Urban navigation is highly dependent on cognitive mental images, which is developed through spatial experience and social communication. Thus, the wayfinding service for a community can be defined using well-known regional places. This research proposes a conceptual framework for urban navigation within a regional community that shares a social network. The concept of community wayfinding is introduced for this purpose and a communal ontology is proposed to aid in urban navigation. In human wayfinding, well-known landmarks are a high priority for place recognition. This dissertation proposes a communal ontology as a type of regional knowledge with a formal structure that can be incorporated with geographical information systems. As part of an effort toward the realization of community wayfinding, this research explores several methodologies. To figure out what the shared geographical places are, the preference and degree of familiarity of different places are measured using the behavioral geographer's methodology. For investigating similar geographical interests within a community, social network analysis is conducted with the help of a person-place matrix and centrality measures are calculated. These measures are analyzed and calculated from survey data and enable us to construct a semantic network among the selected places. To build the hierarchical structure of regional places, measures of spatial prominence for each landmark are calculated and the links between landmarks and other places are generated on the basis of the reference score measure which decided the adequate reference point. The contributions of this research are threefold. First, in terms of a geographic context, prominent geographical objects of a regional domain are stored as an ontological data modeling structure to assist urban navigation activities. Second, in the way of recognizing the destination, it is critical to find familiar landmarks and this research proposes a formal model of them. Lastly, this research contributes to the research agenda of naive geography in GIScience, as this study tried to figure out the way of utilizing the place names which is widely used in general public.