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Rezo Bragin
Rezo Bragin

Google Maps Navigation V2.7 1.45 is the recommended metadata name for the API key. A key with this name can be used to authenticate to multiple Google Maps-based APIs on Android. For backwards compatibility, the metadata name can be used, but only allows authentication to the Android Maps API v2. An app can only specify one of the API key metadata names.

Google Maps Navigation v2.7 1.45

GPS navigation is commonplace in everyday life. While it has the capacity to make our lives easier, it is often used to automate functions that were once exclusively performed by our brain. Staying mentally active is key to healthy brain aging. Therefore, is GPS navigation causing more harm than good? Here we demonstrate that traditional turn-by-turn navigation promotes passive spatial navigation and ultimately, poor spatial learning of the surrounding environment. We propose an alternative form of GPS navigation based on sensory augmentation, that has the potential to fundamentally alter the way we navigate with GPS. By implementing a 3D spatial audio system similar to an auditory compass, users are directed towards their destination without explicit directions. Rather than being led passively through verbal directions, users are encouraged to take an active role in their own spatial navigation, leading to more accurate cognitive maps of space. Technology will always play a significant role in everyday life; however, it is important that we actively engage with the world around us. By simply rethinking the way we interact with GPS navigation, we can engage users in their own spatial navigation, leading to a better spatial understanding of the explored environment.

At the most fundamental level, cognitive maps are formed through exploration8,9,25,26,27,28. While the animal work has described the formation of these spatial neural networks in detail, studies have demonstrated that humans are quite capable of learning about space in other ways such as with the use of (paper) maps29,30. Most significantly, the literature describes two main types of navigation strategies: egocentric and allocentric. Egocentric navigation is considered striatal and describes how cues within the environment relate to the individual (a set of directions) whereas allocentric navigation is hippocampal and describes how cues within the environment relate to one another (a map). While both navigation strategies have their advantages, they are thought to operate both independently and in parallel31. A true cognitive map requires an allocentric perspective of space that the hippocampus provides, so that the spatial information is flexible and can be used from any location9. Furthermore, a successful creation of cognitive maps requires active engagement in the navigation process as spatial decision making is the primary component of active learning for the acquisition of map based knowledge3,32.

Is it possible to find a balance between our internal navigation system and modern technology? Certainly, new technology has allowed us to go further and reach unexplored places in ways we would have only imagined prior to GPS access on our mobile phones. One can get lost in the streets of Tokyo and still find their way back without fear. Hence, we have reached a modern paradox for navigation: navigation apps allow us to explore more places, while at the same time making us worse explorers. Here, we argue that current GPS apps (based on turn-by-turn navigation) promote a passive form of navigation that does not support learning or the formation of cognitive maps33. Turn-by-turn navigation, is a passive navigation system based on an egocentric perspective. The user does not make any decisions about the navigation process, they simply input a desired location and follow the directions on the app.

Here we suggest an alternative form of GPS navigation, that is possible with the use of 3D spatialized audio. We position a virtual auditory beacon, which is essentially a continuous sound virtually positioned in 3D, to always be emanating from the direction straight from the destination it is associated with. By the means of this virtual auditory beacon, users of GPS apps can regain their active role, and navigate in the space like they used to: without delegating decisions (see materials section for more details about the beacon implementation). Users navigate in the direction from which the beacon sounds, constrained only by the available paths traveling in that direction. In this scenario, the mobile app acts as a compass that directs the user towards the destination in an allocentric manner. The goal of our research is to demonstrate that by simply rethinking the way we interact with technology and introducing sensory augmentation into the equation (in the form of 3D audio) we can have a real impact on modern navigation without having to compromise our own internal navigation system or our ability to create mental maps.

The goal of the study presented here was to present an alternative to turn-by-turn navigation that is effective and is still engaging users into their environment to promote spatial learning. We show that using auditory beacons to navigate can lead to greater explorative behavior and the formation of more accurate mental maps of the surrounding environment when compared to turn-by-turn navigation. Thus, demonstrating that it is possible to use GPS technology and promote learning through active navigation. In this study, groups of both familiar (Experts) and unfamiliar (Naïve) participants were asked to find the locations of different POIs on a scavenger hunt across the Microsoft campus. Half of the groups were guided to the POIs using traditional turn-by-turn directions (Turn-by-turn) and the other half used the auditory navigation app Soundscape (Beacon) to find the POIs. While the pre-post performance showed little differences between the conditions in the Expert group, the Naïve Beacon group demonstrated a more accurate spatial representation of the Microsoft campus as reflected by the significant improvement (pre-post) in their ability to point to each of the POI locations, both from a familiar and a novel location, as well as to identify the POI locations on a simple overhead map of the area. It was not surprising that experts, who were familiar with the campus, did not exhibit a significant difference in learning as we expected them to have a reasonable mental map already formed. 041b061a72


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