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Ontology and epistemology for agent-based wayfinding simulation

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Agent-based systems are used to simulate the behaviour of people in various spatial environments. Designers of such systems need to give attention to ontological and epistemological concerns during the early stages of development to assure that the agent-based system is built upon a sound foundation. Only then is it possible to model the agent's behaviour in a cognitively plausible way. This paper describes an ecological approach to model ontology and epistemology for agent-based wayfinding simulation. The ontology of the wayfinding environment is based on a subdivision into medium, substances, and surfaces. The epistemological model uses the concept of affordances, which we divide into physical, social-institutional, and mental affordances. Ontology and epistemology are both grounded in people's descriptions of their wayfinding experiences. A case study of wayfinding in airports is used to demonstrate the applicability of the method for designing a simulation with a cognizing agent.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2001

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