The Hegarty Lab studies a variety of topics related to spatial cognition, including the practical study of real-world and virtual reality navigation. The lab has recently developed a scale known as the Santa Barbara sense of direction scale (SBSOD) which quantifies an individual's affinity to direct themselves in navigational situation. The referenced article in the New York Magazine cites research and discussion of Mary Hegarty on individual navigation ability.
This article can be found here: Teach yourself to have a better sense of direction
On ongoing topic of study in the Hegarty Lab is the prospect of training spatial ability, as well as the relation of mindsets to spatial ability. Even though it may seem that you are a hopeless case when it comes to navigation, there is potential that you can improve your ability with training. Stay tuned for continuing updates on this exciting field of research!