If you have set up a study already, and have technical questions regarding the data you have downloaded from the portal, you may find the following FAQs document useful: Technical FAQS.

Other useful resources:


  • ‘ r’ indicates the direction faced by the boat, further details in the Technical FAQs document above.
  • Events can be discarded.
  • The Radial maze is no longer available or applicable to current research projects, so is disabled, so please ignore.
  • Researchers have used Python or MATLab for analysis. For json files, you can use the following for example:
  • The ‘x’ and ‘y’ coordinates recorded are converted into a ‘distance travelled metric’. This has been used in current studies and has been very intuitive. Because we have data for 4 million people, we can use this to profile people exactly for where they fall in the distribution. We are developing more sophisticated measures, but the distance works well as a measure.

If you have any further questions not answered here, please email

If you have issues setting up your project, or with your data, please use this contact form to access the different support options and you will be directed to our helpdesk:


Sea Hero Quest has been played by 4.3 million people around the world, providing scientists with data that would have taken traditional dementia research 176 centuries to collect.This powerful data set from people of all ages and backgrounds around the world is now being used to help create a global benchmark spatial navigation and improve diagnostic approaches to early disease detection.To access the data set, please visit: Sea Hero Quest | Deutsche Telekom (

The new version of the app is available for players with a participant code, generated by the Sea Hero Quest system according to the criteria and requirements of a specific project. Researchers will be able to invite a targeted group of participants to play Sea Hero Quest and generate data about their spatial navigation capabilities.



- Fernandez-Velasco, P., Coutrot, A., Oloye, H., Wiener, J. M., Dalton, R. C., Hoelscher, C., ... & Spiers, H. (2023). Handedness and its association with education and spatial navigation assessed in over 400,000 participants across 41 countries. bioRxiv, 2023-03.

- Garg, T., Velasco, P. F., Patai, Z. E., Malcolm, C. P., Kovalets, V., Bohbot, V. D., ... & Spiers, H. J. (2023). The relationship between object-based spatial ability and virtual navigation performancebioRxiv, 2023-03.

- C. Seton, A. Coutrot, M. Hornberger, H J. Spiers, R. Knight, C Whyatt. (March 9, 2023). Wayfinding and path integration deficits detected using a virtual reality mobile app in patients with traumatic brain injury. PLoS ONE 18(3)

- T Zaksaite, C Loveday, T Edginton, HJ Spiers, AD Smith. (2023). Hydrocephalus: A neuropsychological and theoretical primer. Cortex, Volume 160, Pages 67-99.

- PS Muhle-Karbe, H Sheahan, G Pezzulo, HJ Spiers, S Chien, NW Schuck, C Summerfield. (Feb 2023). Goal-seeking compresses neural codes for space in the human hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex. Biorxiv preprint.

- R Dalton, J Wiener, D Yesiltepe, A Adams, N Dalton, H Spiers, M Hornberger. (Feb 2023). Motivational Factors for Participating in Citizen Science Games. Northumbria Research Link.

- Greg L. West, Zita Eva Patai, Antoine Coutrot, Michael Hornberger, Véronique D. Bohbot, & Hugo J. Spiers. (2023). Landmark-dependent Navigation Strategy Declines across the Human Life-Span: Evidence from Over 37,000 Participants. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 1–16, 35 (3): 452–467.

- A. Coutrot, A. S. Lazar, M. Richards, E. Manley, J. M. Wiener, R. C. Dalton, M. Hornberger & H. J. Spiers. (2022). Reported sleep duration reveals segmentation of the adult life-course into three phases. Nature Communications, 13, 7697.

- Puthusseryppady, V., Morrissey, S., Spiers, H. J., Patel, M., & Hornberger, M. (2022). Predicting real world spatial disorientation in Alzheimer’s disease patients using virtual reality navigation tests. Scientific reports, 12(1), 1-12.

- A. Coutrot, E. Manley, S. Goodroe, C. Gahnstrom, G. Filomena, D. Yesiltepe, R. C. Dalton, J. M. Wiener, C. Hölscher, M. Hornberger & H. J. Spiers. (2022). Entropy of city street networks linked to future spatial navigation ability. Nature, 604, 104–110

- McElhinney, S., Zisch, F., Hornsberger, M., Coutrot, A., Spiers, H. J., & Hanna, S. (2022). Exosomatic Route Choice in Navigation: Evidence from video game player data. Proceedings of the 13th Space Syntax Symposium.

- Spiers, H. J., Coutrot, A., & Hornberger, M. (2022). How the environment shapes our ability to navigate. Clinical and Translational Medicine, 12(6).

- Spiers, H. J., Coutrot, A., & Hornberger, M. (2021). Explaining World‐Wide Variation in Navigation Ability from Millions of People: Citizen Science Project Sea Hero Quest. Topics in Cognitive Science.

- Commins, S., Coutrot, A., Hornberger, M., Spiers, H. J., & De Andrade Moral, R. (2022). Examining individual learning patterns using generalized linear mixed models. PsyArXiv.

- Spiers, H. (2021). Lost. The Psychologist, 34, 30-35.

- Dubois, H., Le Callet, P., Hornberger, M., Spiers, H. J., & Coutrot, A. (2021). Capturing and explaining trajectory singularities using composite signal neural networks. 28th European Signal Processing Conference (EUSIPCO) (pp. 1422-1426). IEEE.

- Yesiltepe, D., Ozbil Torun, A., Coutrot, A., Hornberger, M., Spiers, H., & Conroy Dalton, R. (2021). Computer models of saliency alone fail to predict subjective visual attention to landmarks during observed navigation. Spatial Cognition & Computation, 21(1), 39-66.

- Chapin, B.A., Khondoker, M., Coughlan, G., Spiers, H. J., & Hornberger, M. (2020). Navigation ability before and after menopause. Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's association.

- Yesiltepe, D., Torun, A. O., Coutrot, A., Hornberger, M., Spiers, H. J., & Dalton, R.C. (2020). Computer models of saliency alone fail to predict subjective visual attention to landmarks during observed navigation. Spatial Cognition & Computation. (p 39-66).

- Coughlan, G., Puthusseryppady, V., Lowry, E., Gillings, R., Spiers, H. J., Minihane, A-M, et al. (2020). Test-retest reliability of spatial navigation in adults at-risk of Alzheimer’s disease. PLoS one.

- Coutrot, A., Manley, E., Yesiltepe, D., Dalton, R. C., Wiener, J. M., Holscher, C., Hornberger, M., & Spiers, H. J. (27/01/2020). Cities have a negative impact on navigation ability: evidence from 38 countries. bioRxiv. Now published in Nature doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-04486-7.

- Coughlan, G., Coutrot, A., Khondoker, M., Minihane, A., Spiers, H. J., & Hornberger, M. (2019). Toward personalized cognitive diagnostics of at-genetic-risk Alzheimer’s disease. PNAS.

- Coutrot, A., Schmidt, S., Coutrot, L., Pittman, J., Hong, L., Wiener, J. M., ... & Spiers, H. J. (2019). Virtual navigation tested on a mobile app is predictive of real-world wayfinding navigation performance. PloS one.

- Coutrot, A., Silva, R., Manley, E., de Cothi, W., Sami, S., Bohbot, V., Wiener, J. M., Hölscher, C., Dalton, R. C., Hornberger, M., Spiers, H. J. (2018). Global determinants of navigation ability. Current Biology.


- Medical Xpress: Smartphone games can help to detect the long-lasting effects of traumatic brain injuries. 2023

- UCL Portico Magazine: Using play to diagnose Alzheimer’s. 2023

- Mail Online: Reported sleep duration reveals segmentation of the adult life-course into three phases - Study reveals we get more shut-eye after our fifties. (December 23, 2022)

- Gamespot: The Game That Fights Dementia | MindGames. (October 2, 2022)

- Popular Science: A popular mobile game is teaching scientists how we navigate our worlds.Our age, city, and social status can shape our sense of direction. Sea Hero Quest gives a window on how. (April 1, 2022)

- New Scientist: Where you grew up influences how well you navigate the world. (March 30, 2022)


- The Economist: Growing up in a city weakens the brain’s navigational skills. (February 6, 2020)

- New Scientist: People who grow up outside of cities have a better sense of direction. (February 6, 2020)

- Deutsche Telekom: Research shows GDP and gender inequality within a nation is predictive of spatial navigation ability. (August 9, 2018)

- Deutsche Telekom: Sea Hero Quest sets new standards in dementia research. (Novermber 17, 2016)

- BBC News: Mobile game Sea Hero Quest 'helps dementia research'. (May 4, 2016)

- CNN International:  Sea Hero Quest game shows that ability to navigate declines at young age. (May 4, 2016)

- Huffington Post: Citizen Science Project. (May 4, 2016)

- The Telegraph: Playing this smartphone game can help fight dementia. (May 4, 2016)

- Techradar: Helping solve dementia. (May 4, 2016)