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UAE residents most disorientated: Nokia study

Dubai, November 26, 2008

People from the UAE are the most disorientated in the world when they get lost according to new research commissioned by Nokia, the leading supplier of map-enabled devices.

The findings are part of a global study, one of the largest navigation studies to date, where 12,500 people in 13 countries in the world were quizzed about their sense of direction and navigational habits.

In the UAE, 97 per cent of respondents admitted to getting lost at some point along a journey, and over a third (36 per cent) blame their lack of direction on being in a rush. 38 per cent of UAE people surveyed believe that sense of direction is something that can be taught. The UAE is also the most likely nation across the world to use restaurants as a point of reference when guiding lost strangers.

Only one in ten (10 per cent) people in the UAE admit to not using a navigation tool when in unfamiliar surroundings, compared to more than 25 per cent of people surveyed globally relying on online and mobile navigation tools to find their way around. More specifically, 13 per cent of people globally use a mobile phone as their primary navigation tool, from a zero base just a few years ago.

The global research found that one in ten people (ten per cent) find it impossible to navigate around London, followed closely by Paris (nine per cent), Bangkok (five per cent), Hong Kong (five per cent) and Beijing (four per cent), making up the top five ‘lost cities’ on the planet.

The country with the world’s best sense of direction is Germany, where a third of people claim to have never lost their way. Unsurprisingly, it is also the country with the highest reliance on satellite navigation.

One in ten women admits to not being able to read a traditional map, twice the number of men. This suggests that the end of the traditional map and compass is fast approaching with map reading skills across the world generally considered poor.

One in five people believe a sense of direction is genetic and those that have a bad sense of direction are simply born that way. However having a good sense of direction seems rare and despite huge advances in online maps and mobile navigation, almost everyone surveyed (93 per cent) still get lost regularly, with the average person wasting 13 minutes each time they do. This has big implications for some, with one in ten missing a job interview, an important business meeting or flight because they lost their way.

“More people are becoming comfortable with using navigation tools on their phones and in their cars, and are seeing direct benefits from using these devices in their everyday lives,” stated Mohamed El-Sheakh, business manager, services and software, Nokia Middle East and Africa.

“People can customise the navigation features in their phones according to the routes they take, and updating information is quicker and easier than with traditional maps. You can even set your navigation enabled mobile phone to avoid traffic jams and roadworks, which cause many people to go off course.”

When approached by strangers asking for directions, many people use iconic landmarks such as statues, churches and bridges as recognisable ‘breadcrumbs’ to a destination. However, people in the UAE prefer to use restaurants to signpost directions to others. In another reflection of city culture and make-up, the Chinese typically use skyscrapers to give directions.

”With cities growing so rapidly and new roads and buildings being built all the time, people are relying more on mobile navigation tools that are always with them. The development of turn by turn pedestrian navigation is a technology that should be embraced, as it helps people reach their destination easily,” added El-Sheakh.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Telecom | Nokia | mobiles | Handset | maps | cellphone | Navigation |

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