Information Theoretic Model to Simulate Agent-Signage Interaction for Wayfinding

Rohit K. Dubey*, Tyler Thrash, Mubbasir Kapadia, Christoph Hoelscher, Victor R. Schinazi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
92 Downloads (Pure)


Signage systems are critical for communicating spatial information during wayfinding among a plethora of noise in the environment. A proper signage system can improve wayfinding performance and user experience by reducing the perceived complexity of the environment. However, previous models of sign-based wayfinding do not incorporate realistic noise or quantify the reduction in perceived complexity from the use of signage. Drawing upon concepts from information theory, we propose and validate a new agent-signage interaction model that quantifies available wayfinding information from signs for wayfinding. We conducted two online crowd-sourcing experiments to compute the distribution of a sign’s visibility and an agent’s decision-making confidence as a function of observation angle and viewing distance. We then validated this model using a virtual reality (VR) experiment with trajectories from human participants. The crowd-sourcing experiments provided a distribution of decision-making entropy (conditioned on visibility) that can be applied to any sign/environment. From the VR experiment, a training dataset of 30 trajectories was used to refine our model, and the remaining test dataset of 10 trajectories was compared with agent behavior using dynamic time warping (DTW) distance. The results revealed a reduction of 38.76% in DTW distance between the average trajectories before and after refinement. Our refined agent-signage interaction model provides realistic predictions of human wayfinding behavior using signs. These findings represent a first step towards modeling human wayfinding behavior in complex real environments in a manner that can incorporate several additional random variables (e.g., environment layout).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-206
Number of pages18
JournalCognitive Computation
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


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