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Thanks for the link, Jarrett! Related to your observations about map-books, I sometimes have a split-second delay in reading clocks, whether analog with hands or digital with numbers. Many years ago I found a little app for Windows 3.1 that displayed the time in words, like "It's almost a quarter to twelve." I found that I could read and understand those with no delay at all! Sadly, I haven't found a similar one for XP, or for my phone. The most useful map-books I've found are the Paris par arrondissement maps, especially for the inner districts, because you can think of each district as a unit. The Michelin one I have splits the larger, outer districts over two maps to maintain a consistent scale. By contrast, the maps-books I have for Westchester, Nassau, Bergen and Hudson Counties in the NYC suburbs are hard to read for the reasons you give, and would be a lot easier if they had one or two pages for every town. Finally, with regards to Ailurin's comment, the "allocentric" and "egocentric" concepts also correspond roughly to Witkin's "field independent" and "field dependent" cognitive styles: http://faculty.mdc.edu/jmcnair/Joe13pages/field_dependence.htm
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Another thought-provoking post, and thanks, Russ, for the link to the Vertesi study! I've posted a reaction.
Toggle Commented Oct 26, 2009 on confessions of a spatial navigator at Human Transit
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I'm glad you found the interview as interesting as I did! In response to your post, I wrote another post describing some of what I love about the Paris suburbs.
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2009 on getting beyond paris (or your city) at Human Transit
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This is a fascinating post, especially since I'm planning to talk to my class about levels of detail on Friday. In fact, I learned about the value of different levels of description in my class with Jacques Filliolet at Nanterre. I actually don't remember ever paying attention to the branch numbers - odd/even or beyond; I just knew that the trains that went to Saint-Germain always stopped at Nanterre-Université. The RER and Transilien have an additional level of detail for employees, transit geeks and customers who are regular enough to pay attention to things like this. Every train has a four-letter route code. These codes are shown in the posted schedules, in the platform departure boards, and in LEDs on the front of the train itself. The first of the four letters always indicates the actual terminus of that run, not the end of the line. The others are usually chosen to be as pronounceable as possible (like YGOR), and each combination is assigned to a particular sequence of stops. So for example, the Saint-Germain branch of the A line (PDF) starts the morning with eight ZEBU runs about fifteen minutes apart. These make all stops between Boissy and Saint-Germain. Just before 7AM, as things start to get a bit busy, they alternate between ZARA, which goes from La Varenne-Chennevières to Saint-Germain skipping two stops in Chatou and Le Vésinet, and XUTI, which goes from Boissy to Le Vésinet-Le Pecq skipping Nanterre-Ville. At around 8AM, an YCAR route from Torcy to Rueil is added to the mix. Shortly before 9AM, they go back to the all-stops ZEBU run every ten minutes for the midday period. You can read the rest yourselves. Regulars on the Long Island Railroad, for example, always know that the 6:36 to Wantagh skips Lynbrook, but the 6:46 to Babylon stops there. The four-letter designation allows regulars in Paris to know that the 6:45 and 6:55 ZINC trains out of Etoile won't stop at Chatou, so they need to be on the 6:50 XOUD run.
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