Thesis subject

MSc thesis subject: Geo-Visualisation - Mapping Mental Maps

Mental maps are widely used to study human behaviour and preferences and appear frequently in literature of environmental perception. The production of such perceptual maps typically involves members of the local communities drawing features of interest. These days, the use of spatially referenced base data, such as paper thematic maps or aerial photographs, has allowed these mental maps to be integrated into a GIS. The incorporation of mental maps into a digital database allows the use of (traditional) GIS techniques to analyse these unique datasets (Cinderby, 1999).

The on-going PhD research ‘Green infrastructure for climate-proof cities’ at the Landscape Architecture Group aims at examining and defining design principles to improve thermal comfort in urban areas by climate-responsive usage of urban green (Klemm, 2011).  This research collects empirical data: first, this is micrometeorological data to investigate the influence of urban green on the urban climate. And second, it makes use of mental maps to get insight into the way inhabitants perceive, value and use urban green to improve their level of thermal comfort during warm summer days.

Things we want to know are among others: how can GIS techniques serve in visualising these collected mental maps as well as, to what extent can we derive and analyse valuable (quantitative) information from these mental maps.


  • To explore, investigate, develop and test methodologies for the visualisation of mental maps
  • To process and visualise results of mental maps collected in the ‘Green infrastructure for climate-proof cities’ study
  • To analyse and interpret visualised mental maps

Theme: Society, Space and Decision