I grew up in the northern forests of the United States, so this perception of a cityscape is something new for me.
Here are a couple of interesting things I have noticed about urbanites spatial sense:
 We aren’t really spatially familiar with the entire city that we live in. Instead we become spatially familiar with small pockets of the city. For example, the neighborhood in which we live and the area around our place of employment. If you dropped me off in a neighborhood that was across town from my own house I’d be as lost as I would if you put me in a completely strange city.
 Our pockets of spatial familiarity are really linear networks. This is because we move through our cities along linear routes. We really learn and memorize different routes in our city. This is very different from a bird’s eye view of the city in which we live, which would mimic the view displayed on a typical map. Think of the difference in perspective between a person walking trough a giant maze and a person viewing the same maze from a helicopter. Oftentimes a follow a new route through my city and am surprised at the relationship between two (2) familiar land marks. They may actually be close to one another on the surface of the earth, but I had previously viewed them as far apart because of the routes I followed between them didn’t take the shortest path between the two.
What does all this mean? I’m not sure, but I think it raises interesting questions.
How does the layout of a city’s transportation network affect the spatial familiarity it urbanites have?
Do urbanites in cities with active public transportation systems have a greater spatial familiarity with their city, or less spatial familiarity?
Would we do better with maps that present the view of a person walking through the maze then we would with a map that was built from the perspective of viewing a maze from a helicopter. Is Google street view an example of this type of map?
Do some people, like delivery truck drivers and bike messengers, build different types of personal maps in their minds than other more typical urbanites? How would they adapt if placed in another city? How do we measure this ability? Can we measure it?
The Sunburned Surveyor