Spacial Perception to guide your Hike


In today’s world travelling in a car require a GPS in order to get around. The days of paper maps have long since been dated. Yet, there are occasions that maps are needed when there is not GPS coverage.  One such place is at the North end of the Grand Canyon to South end via a walking trail through the valley below. In order to traverse through the valley there are certain skills that are needed from a directional point of view; Map, 3d visual perception; height, length, and depth, and decision factor.

One of the items needed is a Map, the map I found was developed in two dimensions and so I had to find another map for depth (Topography). These maps did not lay out how the actual trails were in the valley between each area but enough information to help develop a mental map.

Once the map was analyzed for its data and imbedded in the mind, it became a 3d work of mental art, so I seemed. Over the course of the first mile, it was concluded that the mental image of the map is actually different from the actual trail as the point of reference changes. This visual confirmation corrected the brain map to coincide with the perception noted. I continued to hike another mile and more changes to the perception of the trail to my mental map. Once the mental map was finally adjusted, at every break I would scan my mental map and determine the next miles of hiking. The difference in my mental visual perception was that now mentally I was spinning the mental map in my head as I visualized the trail. Depending on the difficulty, I would lay out my hike pattern within 2 miles or 5 miles. The 2 miles was faster to map then the 5 miles.

The third aspect was the decisions that had to be made based on water signs, they were determined when studying the actual physical map, on the mental visual map.  These decisions also were on outside temperature, humidity, and fatigue factor. Each one was a sensory input that had to analyzed and incorporated to the decision for the hike success.

In each factor of navigation though the Grand Canyon relied on mental visualization and the perception of the trail relative to the orientation of where I faced (North, South). Spatial layout of the Grand Canyon with the trail and the topography made the journey without unnecessary stress. Yet, using “tacit knowledge explanation because it states that participants unconsciously use knowledge about the world in making their decisions” (Goldstein, 2011) But it is clear that when I visualized several different distances, it did take longer to determine visual representations of the distance on the trail to each goal. This is because as I visualized the trail, I kept imagining, based on experience, that the topography changes and adds or reduces the hike resistance therefore, making my decision to reach next hiking goal meaningful. Ultimately, my mental map guided the decision tree as all inputs; visual and biometrics were assessed contributed to a successful hike efficiently complete in 12 hours.




Cognitive Psychology, Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience, E. Bruce Goldstein, 2011

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