Sensis, the Telstra subsidiary that operates the Whereis.com maps and directions service, now incorporates landmarks in the driving directions it generates.
So users can expect to see instructions such as "head towards Victoria Pde at Australian Catholic University [and] Turn left onto Victoria Pde" or "Turn right onto Bourke St, Melbourne at Elephant & Wheelbarrow".
Landmarks are selected according to cognitive principles.
"Deciding which landmarks are most useful is really based on the uniqueness of the landmark, and this can be determined by three main things; the landmark's meaning, its visual salience and where the landmark is located, relative to the decision point on the route," said Matt Duckham, senior lecturer in geographic information science at the University of Melbourne's geomatics department.
"While computers can work out how far it is to the next interaction, humans find it much easier to use instructions that refer to places with meaning and that we can easily identify."
According to Whereis.com commercial manager Fred Curtis, "current trends in technology all point to increased functionality alongside ease of use, so that's the direction we're heading."
"Being an Australian mapping company, it was important our Whereis.com team worked with local experts to investigate the potential of incorporating the new landmark feature to our site. Melbourne University's geomatics team certainly fit the bill."