Simultaneity of Seeing and Doing in Wayfinding from an Ego-Perspective. Eye-Tracking and Video Analysis As Tools of Visual Sociology

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: 313+314
Oral Presentation
Cornelia THIERBACH , Department of Sociology, Technical University Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Alexandra LORENZ , Department for Geodesy and Geoinformation Science (Methods of Geoinformation Science), Technical University Berlin, Berlin, Germany
We examine eye-tracking data that stem from an interdisciplinary user study that aims at evaluating different cartographic methods for indoor navigation maps (cartography) and at exploring social practices of orientation (sociology).

In order to collect data we have been conducting social field experiments every year since 2009. Participants’ task is it to find their way from the ground floor of the university’s main building (starting point) to the rooftop (goal) as fast as possible. To accomplish this challenge, they are asked to use specially designed maps that they should rate afterwards.

Each year, we broaden the range of our methodological instruments and test their usefulness for analyzing spatial practices. Among the instruments we are currently mixing are: different cartographic methods, surveys, ethnography (both participant and non-participant observation), photography and eye-tracking.

To use eye-tracking devices for data collection gives us the opportunities (1) to visually document an ego-perspective of participants’ experiences during the way finding process and their use of the maps, (2) to capture the focus of their gaze and (3) to record simultaneously what they said and heard during the way-finding task. To combine all of that is not possible with any other data collection technique.

To analyze the data we used the video analysis method (Tuma et al. 2013). It includes the selection of relevant scenes, transcription (visually and in written form), their interpretation and the presentation of results.

In this paper we want to present some of our results, show how we got there and discuss what worked out well and what problems we had in applying this approach.