Sketching mental maps of urban spaces for the visual analysis of spatial data
Godwin, James A.
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Quantitative spatial data can be used to substantially augment our understanding of topics of interest to civic planning, including human behavior. However, it does not necessarily capture the qualitative values or understanding of an environment from the people that live within it, which is important for promoting public participation in GIS. Interactive mental maps may provide an external cognition aid that allows people to confront and interpret their qualitative understanding of an urban environment during quantitative analysis of spatial data. Mental maps encode the aspects of an area that a person considers core to the nature of that place, and the creation of a digital mental map can both incorporate the significant elements of the urban environment and reflect the beliefs of the person who created the map. Creating digital expressions of these elements and beliefs within software systems may facilitate cooperative discussion of spatial data between everyday people and experts.