Sketch maps as an indicator of internal cognitive maps

A very informative paper by Mark Billinghurst and Suzanne Weghorst about the use of sketch maps to provide a measure of internal cognitive maps of virtual environment. The Use of Sketch Maps to Measure Cognitive Maps of Virtual Environments.

Cognitive maps are mental models of the relative locations and attributes of phenomena in spatial environments. Understanding how people form cognitive maps of virtual environments is vital to effective virtual world design. Unfortunately, such an understanding is hampered by the difficulty of cognitive map measurement. The present study tests the validity of using sketch maps to examine aspects of virtual world cognitive maps. We predict that subjects who report feeling oriented within the virtual world will produce better sketch maps and so sketch map accuracy can be used as an external measure of subject orientation and world knowledge. Results show a high positive correlation between subjective ratings of orientation, world knowledge and sketch map accuracy, supporting our hypothesis that sketch maps provide a valid measure of internal cognitive maps of virtual environments. Results across different worlds also suggest that sketch maps can be used to find an absolute measure for goodness of world design.

Why do I blog this? I am wondering if there are connected studies in the real world. Is a sketch map also a good indicator of the internal cognitive map of the physical environment?