The paper and exhibit will be presented at the 2017 International Cartographic Conference in Washington DC.

The paper is published as a chapter in LNG&C - Advances in Cartography and GIScience - Springer Link, PDF

Subjective perceptions of urban space have been in the focus of various research projects and act as a recurring reference in artistic practice, not least since the French Situationist International coined the term »psychogeography« in the 1950s as "the study of the specific effects of the geographical environment (whether consciously organized or not) on the emotions and behavior of individuals" (Debord, 1955). The main premise of this definition remains relevant even today, since each of us perceive their environment in a personal and different way, depending on past experiences and how we make use of urban spaces. Adding to this, practices of self-tracking in the age of the quantified self have created another layer of spatial perception in the form of personal movement data and device-aided orientation. Through this artwork, we subject a data-driven representation of urban geography to an artistic and aesthetic interpretation. With this, we do not claim to provide a seemingly objective embodiment of allegedly quantifiable experiences of the self. Quite the contrary, we emphasize the oscillation between supposedly quantitative, objective data and subjective, sensual experiences of space. Based on the assumption that our memory of the urban infrastructure is among other things strongly influenced by how we navigate the world (e.g. mode of transportation), we built an algorithm that aggregates personal activity data (GPS trajectories) and creates an individual city model based upon a series of movement analysis. Thus, the resulting visual and physical model represent a personal perspective on the city. These individual representations generated by the algorithm can be perceived as discursive artefacts, which can help to better understand and reflect subjective views and experiences of the urban infrastructure.

The 3D-printed model of the memorization index for the city of Berlin.
The 3D-printed model of the memorization index for the city of Berlin.

The documentation of the algorithm behind the map has been submitted to be published, as soon as it is accepted the full documentation is going to be made public.

If you are interested to learn more about this project, there is a more thorough explanation of the process, including high res images, as well as all the scripts and sources available on GitHub:


sebastian-meier/MentalMaps Creating mental maps from georeferenced activity data. Public repository on GitHub »


This project was a collaboration between: IDL - Interaction Design Lab - FH Potsdam UCLab - Urban Complexity Lab - FH Potsdam


The data and code as provided on the Github page are available under GPLv3, so you can do what ever you want with it.

All the images on this website as well as in the repo, if not otherwise marked are available under: Creative Commons License
This means more or less that you can do whatever you want with the images, as long as you mention the source.
Psychogeography by Sebastian Meier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Laboratory for human centered
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