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I was looking at an evacuation plan the other day. It had a blueprint-style map of the floor I was on, complete with a marker for my current position, and some arrows showing evacuation routes. I tried to imagine using this map to exit the building, and then realized that it would take me a little
while to get properly oriented, and that I could very easily get lost. Especially if I were in a hurry because of, you know, approaching flames or something crazy like that happening right there in the middle of an evacuation.
I noticed that most of the problem was due to the fact that the diagram was not oriented in real space in the same way as the building. Clearly, an evacuation map where "left" on the map corresponded to "left" in the real world, would be considerably less likely to introduce confusion. Taking the question of mental translation one step further, I thought that it would be even better if the diagram were a 3-D perspective drawing. Imagine looking down into a dollhouse with the roof removed, from and angle - and then turning that into a line drawing. Such a picture would almost instantly convey the proper direction for the exit, as well as the visual landmarks that one should find on the way (corners, elevators, bathrooms, etc.)
What's the point of having these plans if they are confusing to people who are actually trying to evacuate?
Halfbakery: "Tourism's Compass Maps"
Circa Oct 02 | Similar in spirit. A nifty, but baked, idea that embeds a compass in a tourist map so that the map can be oriented. [bristolz, Oct 04 2004]
Laser Fire Exit Pointer
Courtesy of [lurch] [Shz, Oct 04 2004]
||The person who is the least panicked is the one I usually suspect of having caused the emergency. It is usually that teenaged kid with the great big evil grin, who doesnt seem at all surprised that the sprinkler system is on.
||I always make a point of familiarizing myself with emergency exits and attending the Fire Department's training drills. But on September 11, I was horrified to realize that, being new to a project, I had no idea where they were. Fortunately, the smoke didn't fill the floor I was on and building I was in didn't fall down.
||This evacuation map should also be near the floor (less smoke) and three dimensional to feel the way out in zero visibility.