Geography 222 The Power of Maps and GIS

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Geog 222 Lecture Outline: Mental Maps & PsychoGeographies
Update: 1/9/14

1. Mental Maps & PsychoGeographies

Learning the world around us starts when we are very young and continues throughout our lives


Cognitive mapping: gathering of environmental knowledge with all of our senses and direct experience of the environment


Initially things are understood from an egocentric perspective


Change from an egocentric to a geocentric understanding of environment


Why does this geocentric mental map develop?


As our experience of the environment grows we develop a set of locations in relation to our home and paths between those locations

What is important is that



We still use this basic process of mental mapping when in unfamiliar places



Our mental maps seldom stay simple


Our mental maps - whether inborn or culturally determined - is enhanced by the use of an established spatial frame of reference which we learn from and can use with other people


Mental maps are not like printed paper maps with accurate directions and distances

P. Muehrcke: "As adults our mental maps are a potpourri of fact and fiction, gleaned through a haphazard combination of direct and indirect, and extrasensory experience. Some aspects of it are egocentric and based on connected paths, while other bits are geocentric and based on Euclidean distance-direction relations. We have forgotten some things and seen others incorrectly. Our fears and prejudices and longings have biased our way of looking at the world. It is understandable that a combination of these factors may badly warp our image of the environment." p. 8


BUT...despite this mental maps often work just fine, no matter how warped they are


Geographical biases: what you know depends on where you live

Transcriptions of Mental Maps: Geocentric maps


Kevin Lynch Image of the City (1960): putting mental maps to work:


Lynch mental map elements


Some other applications of mental mapping... fear & emotion:


David Ley (1972): Fear & Stress in an Urban (Philadelphia) Neighborhood:



Christian Nold (2004-present)

2. Mapping PsychoGeographies

PsychoGeography: Guy Debord: "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals."

PsychoGeography is...



3. Mapping PsychoGeographies



E-mail: jbkrygier@owu.edu

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