Navigation Becomes Travel Scouting: The Augmented Spaces of Car Navigation Systems

Navigation Becomes Travel Scouting: The Augmented Spaces of Car Navigation Systems

Tristan Thielmann (University of Siegen, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-152-0.ch016
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Car navigation systems, based on “augmented reality,” no longer direct the driver through traffic by simply using arrows, but represent the environment true to reality. The constitutional moment of this medium is the constant oscillation between environmental space and two-dimensional projection space. Using the words of Walter Benjamin, one could also speak of a transparent translation of the world that should not obscure the original. In contrast to the prior generation of navigation systems, the orientation points of the “augmented map” are also fully linked with databases of other available information suppliers. Temporal information, in addition to spatial information, is becoming increasingly important with features such as real time gridlock reports aided by highway sensors and guidance to the nearest event. Does the future lie in the fusion of travel guides and navigation systems? This paper argues that future developments in urban informatics resulting from the convergence of cartographic, media and communication technologies can be inferred based on the increasing phenomenon of mobile augmented reality applications.
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Augmented Maps: A Short Review Of Car Navigation Systems

Navigation technology has made travel routine. We will make it a unique experience using the same technology! […] Each trip is an individual story that should not be told, but experienced. The virtual travel guide is aimed at sustainably increasing the strength and diversity of these experiences. It opens up new spaces for experiences that far exceed the possibilities of representation offered by the usual tourist guides. With this, they smooth the path for a modern way of travel—Travel Scouting. (iPublish, 2006, p. 6f., own translation)

The advertisement for the “first virtual travel guide to the world” (iPublish, 2006, own translation), the Merian scout Navigator—which was launched in 2007—is aimed at combating the loss of individual travel created by vehicle navigation systems and the classic travel guides that led to a standardization of the “tourist gaze” (Urry, 1990).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Dromology: Dromology is derived from the Greek ‘dromos’: avenue or race course. The theory of dromology interprets the world and reality as a resultant of velocity. In Paul Virilio’s 1977 essay entitled “Speed and Politics”, the french philosopher makes a compelling case for an interpretation of history, politics and society in the context of speed. Extending the definition of “dromomaniacs”, Virilio argues that speed became the sole agent and measure of progress. He contends, that “there was no ‘industrial revolution’, only ‘dromocratic revolution’; there is no democracy, only dromocracy; there is no strategy, only dromology.”

Augmented Reality: Is a field of information technology research which represents the possibility of illustrating real and virtual images together. The goal of augmented reality is to add information and meaning to a real object or place. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality does not create a simulation of reality. Augmented reality is an environment that includes both virtual reality and real-world elements.

Navigation System: A navigation system is a device that has the capability of knowing your current position, and allows you to determine your destination. Today’s navigation systems use Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) to pinpoint people’s or vehicle’s location, compare it with the sought-after destination and guide along the selected route. Before GPS, car navigation was provided by dead reckoning. In these systems the measurements from wheel and compass sensors were combined to determine a sequence of positions which in turn was compared to a map database.

Head-Up Display: A head-up display is an optical system that superimposes a synthetic display providing navigational information on a driver’s or pilot’s field of view. Although they were initially developed for military aviation, head-up displays are now used in commercial aircraft, automobiles, and other applications.

GPS: The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 Navstar satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS satellite launches started in 1978, and second-generation satellites were launched beginning in 1989. The system became fully operational in 1995, with a signal for military users and a less-accurate signal for civilians.

Travel Scouting: Terms the modern way of traveling using a virtual travel guide that identifies its specific location and provides corresponding information on tourist offers, sights and insider tips relevant to the area. The program adjusts itself to the user’s situation (road journey, city tour, castle visit etc.) and requirements (information, background reports, recommendations etc.).

Cognitive Mapping: The term ‘cognitive mapping’ used in cognitive psychology refers to the process of perception of spatial orders in human consciousness. Cognitive maps reflect the world in the way a human thinks it is, without any pretence to correctness. The perspective of the observer is responsible for any aberrations.

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