Pharos is a novel system that extends turn-by-turn navigation instructions using a single global landmark (e.g. the Eiffel Tower) rather than multiple, hard-to-select local landmarks.

Pharos: Improving Navigation Instructions on Smartwatches by Including Global Landmarks Nina Wenig, Dirk Wenig, Steffen Ernst, Rainer Malaka, Brent Hecht and Johannes Schöning

Landmark-based navigation systems have proven benefits relative to traditional turn-by-turn systems that use street names and distances. However, one obstacle to the implementation of landmark-based navigation systems is the complex challenge of selecting salient local landmarks at each decision point for each user. In this paper, we present Pharos, a novel system that extends turn-by-turn navigation instructions using a single global landmark (e.g. the Eiffel Tower, the Burj Khalifa, municipal TV towers) rather than multiple, hard-to-select local landmarks. We first show that our approach is feasible in a large number of cities around the world through the use of computer vision to select global landmarks. We then present the results of a study demonstrating that by including global landmarks in navigation instructions, users navigate more confidently and build a more accurate mental map of the navigated area than using turn-by-turn instructions.

Nina Wenig, Dirk Wenig, Steffen Ernst, Rainer Malaka, Brent Hecht and Johannes Schöning (2017) Pharos: Improving Navigation Instructions on Smartwatches by Including Global Landmarks In MobileHCI '17: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, 7.1-7.13. ACM, New York, NY, USA. 10.1145/3098279.3098529 | PDF of Paper | BibTex