Accurately locating one's spatial position in one's environment during a navigation task: Adaptive activity for finding or setting control flags in orienteering

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Abstract

Objective:

The objective of this study was to compare orienteers' modes of adaptation to different environments. Emphasis is placed on characterizing their concerns in relation to the need to accurately locate one's spatial position during orienteering.

Design and methods:

The activity of eight orienteers was studied on two navigation tasks: (a) a classic orienteering task, and (b) a setting-orienteering task. The data were collected and processed using a procedure defined for course-of-action analysis. The methodology used video recordings of the orienteers in natural settings made by a glasses camera, and verbalizations during self-confrontation interviews conducted with four participants. Processing the qualitative data consisted of reconstructing the orienteers' course of experience. A further statistical analysis enabled us to identify events pertaining to map reading and pace.

Results:

The analysis uncovered similarities and differences in the sequential organization of the orienteers' activity classic and setting tasks that were related to particular phases of the two courses and to time pressure. The results stress two fundamentally different modes of navigating and locating one's spatial position in one's environment.

Conclusions:

The navigation activity and its adaptive nature are discussed in relation to the significant structural characteristics of the environment. The results are put in perspective in reference to the fast-and-frugal-heuristics approach, and several perspectives for skill acquisition are examined. It is suggested that this study could have broader implications for sport psychologists and sport instructors, in various sports requiring navigational skills in complex and dynamic environments.

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