Location-based information system for open spaces



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Texas A&M University


Problem solving for location is one of the most critical cognitive skills that can be utilized in deriving a naive location and/or finding a primed location in large open spaces of the built environment. Wayfinding or locating objects in large open spaces is not often easy for individuals due their limitations in building effective mental models of the open space or their lack of a correct procedure for determining the grid coordinates of an object within that space. With the success of the global positioning system (GPS) in providing location information, it is expected that this technology could be utilized to control and improve building construction and facility management productivity within building interior spaces as well. However, GPS cannot perform robustly inside buildings due to the exterior walls or roofs, which weaken the signal. The Cricket indoor location support technology has been developed to respond to this limitation. Cricket uses a combination of radio frequency (RF), ultrasonic sound signals, and the triangular rule to calculate a user's current location. This research investigated performances within the context of a work order system between a human-based system and a computer-based system. Thirty subjects participated in this study. The subjects were asked to derive, find and verify a target box's location. Locating time-on-task, accuracy, and attitudes were measured. The overwhelming results demonstrated the speed and accuracy of the computer-based system over the human-based system. In addition to longer procedural processing times, subject errors included: 1) an incorrect estimation of distance, 2) an inability to correctly locate and/or project the X-axis and Y-axis grid lines, and 3) an incorrect treatment of the positive and negative characteristics of these coordinates. Even though half of the subjects liked the human-based system more, they significantly believe the computer-based system to be more accurate. All but one subject preferred that the computer-based system be used in his or her own future business. Finally, results indicate that the computer-based system does relieve humans of cognitive dependency, which may be further evidence that the computer-based system developed and tested in this study achieved its purpose.