Landscapes use an allocentric reference system.

Landscapes have large objects.

Objects in a landscape are impassive.

Objects in a landscape are generally far away.

Objects in a landscape are arranged along axes.

To interact with a landscape you must move through it.

To learn a landscape, you look at a representation of it (like a map.)

You know things exist in a landscape based on logic: “It’s there because it must be.”

New information about a landscape has difficulty overwriting old information. (“It’s where Sonic Boom Records used to be.”)

Your memory of a landscape lasts a long time. (Where did your grandparents keep their telephone?)

Your focus in a landscape tends to be comprehensive, you take in the whole.

Your understanding of the landscape is coarse-grained and close enough.

In the physical world, anything larger than a person verges on landscape territory. This includes rooms, houses, theme parks, neighborhoods, and cities. In the digital world, large content-based websites usually need to be perceived like landscapes. Examples include:

  • BBC News
  • Harvard Business School
  • AllRecipes
  • Microsoft Docs
  • Landscapes tend to consist of large, impassive objects that are far away from you. They tend to require more working spatial memory, because they require you to remember or reason about the locations of things you can’t see at the moment. They also tend to reward moving from place to place as a method of exploration and be shared between many people.