Two experiments investigated components of participants' spatial knowledge when they navigated large-scale “virtual buildings” using “desk-top” (i.e., nonimmersive) virtual environments (VEs). Experiment 1 showed that participants could estimate directions with reasonable accuracy when they traveled along paths that contained one or two turns (changes of direction), but participants' estimates were significantly less accurate when the paths contained three turns. In Experiment 2 participants repeatedly navigated two more complex virtual buildings, one with and the other without a compass. The accuracy of participants' route-finding and their direction and relative straight-line distance estimates improved with experience, but there were no significant differences between the two compass conditions. However, participants did develop significantly more accurate spatial knowledge as they became more familiar with navigating VEs in general.

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