This study examined elderly people's ability to interrelate maps and real spaces, through spatial tasks of matching locations and directions indicated on maps and scenes shown as photographs. Performance of 88 elderly and 26 young people was analyzed with structural equation modeling. The ability to correspond maps and real spaces was affected by age directly more than was indirectly affected through self-assessment of aging. It indicates the necessity for urban planning to consider effective ways to provide navigational information, by recognizing the psychological difficulty that elderly people have with spatial orientation. Experience in map-use and extant geographical knowledge affected the ability, suggesting possible effects of designing city environments that allow elderly people to walk around and gain experience and knowledge.
2011 The City Planning Institute of Japan