This symposium will address how the breadth of investigation within the cognitive sciences can be brought to bear on applied everyday common problems, such as difficulties with reading charts and maps, and difficulties in using an in-car navigation device. Research with a problem-based focus often requires a systems approach that requires assimilation of work from many different disciplines. Such problems thus constitute ideal domains for illustrating the benefits of such multi-discipline and multi-method approaches. Speakers will focus on the use of spatial thinking in the context of examining these applied problems. These speakers span at least two disciplines, one a traditional discipline represented within cognitive science, and the other a related discipline such as geosciences and architecture.