MIMS Final Project 2011

Visualizing Mental Maps of San Francisco


People’s experiences and perceptions of the city they live in are highly personal, which isn’t reflected in the geography of a street map. Your mental map may be filled with gaps about the larger world, but is instead filled with localized knowledge, such as different levels of detail, scale, emphasis, boundaries and biases. The goal of our project is to develop a series of visualizations depicting various aspects of San Francisco that tap into people’s mental maps. More specifically, we plan on focusing on the idea of neighborhoods, which seems intuitive to grasp but can be difficult to define. The project is composed of two parts: the first involves qualitative research, by interviewing San Franciscans and having them complete various mapping exercises. The second will be the development of the visualizations, with the choice of data and its presentation informed by the qualitative research.

Last updated:

October 7, 2016