• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 12, No 4 (2021)

Tours and Maps Operations as Movement Mechanism in Indoor Wayfinding

Tours and Maps Operations as Movement Mechanism in Indoor Wayfinding

Title: Tours and Maps Operations as Movement Mechanism in Indoor Wayfinding
Triandriani Mustikawati, Yandi Andri Yatmo, Paramita Atmodiwirjo

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Cite this article as:
Mustikawati, T., Andri Yatmo, Y., Atmodiwirjo, P., 2021. Tours and Maps Operations as Movement Mechanism in Indoor Wayfinding. International Journal of Technology. Volume 12(4), pp. 887-896

Triandriani Mustikawati Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia
Yandi Andri Yatmo Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia
Paramita Atmodiwirjo Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia
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Tours and Maps Operations as Movement Mechanism in Indoor Wayfinding

This paper addresses the issue of wayfinding and human movement in a complex building. It focuses on the operations people perform to enable themselves to move from one place to another during the process of searching for a destination in a building. The wayfinding operations build upon the concept of tours and maps proposed by de Certeau (1984). This paper analyses how the tours and the maps operations were employed and distributed in a wayfinding journey within a building, with these operations enabling visitors to reach a certain destination in the building. The tours and maps operations were revealed by looking into the wayfinding narrative based on observations of participants executing wayfinding tasks. The results of the study indicate that the length of a wayfinding journey conforms to the number of operations performed.  Both tours and maps operations had the same role in regulating the movements in the wayfinding journeys. While the tours operations regulated how people moved from place to place, the maps operations supported their movements by giving information from the surrounding environment. Understanding movement mechanisms by exploring operations in a wayfinding journey could contribute to the development of digital navigation systems for indoor wayfinding. 

Complex building; Journey; Movement; Operation; Wayfinding


        Finding a way through a public building can be quite a challenge, especially for a new visitor who is not familiar with the environment. Public buildings have become complex environments with many building masses and rooms connected by complex networks of corridors (Passini, 1992). People search and reach a destination by moving from one place to another in a building (Ingold, 2011). The difficulty in finding a destination may also mean problems with moving through places and relating them together within a building. These problems can result in loss of time, money, or even life caused by missed flights, delays of medical service, or being trapped in an emergency situation. Understanding wayfinding mechanisms is essential to developing wayfinding systems that support an efficient movement for locating the desired destination.

       Wayfinding has been widely discussed as a complex cognitive process (Golledge, 1999; Spiers and Maguire, 2008; Jamshidi and Pati, 2020). In short, wayfinding is simply a matter of moving from one place to another in a building or other, larger environment. It is based on a perception-action approach that involves continually adjusted movement according to an ongoing perceptual process (Ingold, 2011; Heft, 2013); however, there is a lack of discussion on how people move during the search. Meanwhile, the development of digital technology for indoor wayfinding and navigation does not follow the rapid development of digital outdoor navigation. The Global Positioning System (GPS) that has been used for digital outdoor navigation cannot work properly and accurately in buildings (Karimi, 2015). Some infrastructures are being developed to assist navigation in buildings, but these are still focused on the use of positioning technology based in space (Gu et al., 2009; Deak et al., 2012) rather than the movement mechanism being the basis of wayfinding. The wayfinding movement mechanism ought to be explored for the development of future digital indoor wayfinding systems.

        This paper will discuss the movement aspect of wayfinding by revealing the way of operations involved during wayfinding. Operation refers to a schema of actions that describe how people do something (de Certeau, 1984). In this study, the spatial operations in a wayfinding journey will be analyzed through the tours and maps approach (de Certeau, 1984). In particular, this study attempts to analyze the role of the two operations types, the tours and the maps, within a sequence of a wayfinding journey in a hospital building. Some studies in hospital and healthcare facilities have revealed the role of spatial configuration in hospital performance (Johanes and Atmodiwirjo, 2015; Yatmo et al., 2018; Sengke et al., 2020; Yatmo et al., 2021), including issues with wayfinding (Pati et al., 2015; Carpman et al., 2016; Johanes and Yatmo, 2018). This current study demonstrates how the movement of visitors can take place in a particular spatial configuration of a hospital.


        This study has demonstrated how the mechanism of movement can be discovered by looking at the operations performed during wayfinding. It shows that operations during wayfinding can be revealed by looking at the narratives of wayfinding journeys, which shows how a wayfinding journey is composed of tours and maps operations. The result indicates that the tours operations regulate all the movements involved during wayfinding, while the maps operations regulate how visual senses work to read the surrounding environment and provide information for connecting all the movements. Both operations work together as the movement mechanism during the search for the destination in a building.  

        Different subjects might perform different wayfinding operations, demonstrating that each operation is related to the situation and condition around the subject. The different operations would take the subject through different routes with different wayfinding and spatial experiences. However, a pattern of operations might be performed in a situation and condition related to a particular spatial configuration. These patterns have not been discussed in this paper and might be investigated in further studies. 

          This study offers a way of understanding movement mechanisms by exploring operations in a wayfinding journey. The findings of the study demonstrate a mechanism that may contribute to the future development of digital indoor wayfinding systems.


           This paper is part of a doctoral dissertation. The study was supported by a Penelitian Dasar Research Grant from the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education, number: NKB-039/UN2.RST/HKP.05.00/2021. The authors would like to thank the management of RSUD Saiful Anwar Malang, Indonesia for the support and cooperation during the fieldwork.

Supplementary Material
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