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September 4, 2021 - September 5, 2021

How will navigation systems of the future make us smarter?

When we move through a city today, we often focus more on our smartphone screen than on the road while finding our way. Does this mean we’re losing the important ability to orientate ourselves?

Nowadays we are increasingly dependent on our digital assistants to navigate, especially when we are trying to find our way in unfamiliar surroundings. We look spellbound at the digital assistant’s screen and gratefully follow the blue dot moving on the mobile map.

More and more, digital assistants are replacing the navigation capabilities of our brains. As a result we become increasingly dependent on them and are less aware of our surroundings. Consequently, we no longer train orientation and wayfinding ourselves, and in the process gradually lose our own spatial orientation skills.

Does it have to be this way? Should we accept this loss of a vital ability? The EU-funded research project GeoViSense, based at the Chair of Geographic Information Visualization and Analysis (GIVA) and the Digital Society Initiative (DSI), aims to develop a user- and context-sensitive navigation system of the future that adapts to the cognitive abilities of its users.

Such a system promotes spatial learning during navigation. Landmarks in the environment that are important for wayfinding are displayed on the digital map. Using mobile electroencephalography (EEG), the information is processed individually for each person, based on an individual’s brain activity or memory capacity. On the way to a destination, searching for and finding new paths yourself, as well as learning and remembering them, thus becomes a playful and motivating navigation experience!

At our booth you can test your navigation skills by finding your way in a virtual city. You will be able to view your own brain activity while navigating in this virtual environment and learn how to improve your spatial orientation skills. At the same time, you will learn more about the development of future digital navigation assistants.


September 4, 2021
September 5, 2021


University of Zurich
Winterthurerstrasse 190
Zurich, 8057 Switzerland
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