Mental Geography, Wonky Maps and a Long Way Ahead

Alan Dix
Talis and University of Birmingham

paper presented at GeoHCI, Workshop on Geography and HCI, CHI 2013

download full paper (PDF, 150k)

Full reference:
A. Dix (2013). Mental Geography, Wonky Maps and a Long Way Ahead. GeoHCI, Workshop on Geography and HCI, CHI 2013.
See also:
Alan Walks Wales page on Maps
Frasan (Tiree heritage app)


Spatial and geographic cognition are not only important for designing mapping and mobile applications, they also underlie, at a metaphorical and neurological level, many other aspects of abstract and digital reasoning.  Digital maps need to respect this rich human understanding of space, which is not always found in the Cartesian regularity of standard maps.  Instead it is often embodied in quirky and irregular local maps and effective use of these alongside 'standard' maps is not only good for interaction, but can also be a statement of community empowerment.  These and other issues are being explored in the author's ongoing practical work on mobile local heritage applications and a three month, 1000 mile, IT-focused walk around the entire periphery of Wales.

Keywords: maps, mental models, local empowerment, mobile user interfaces


GeoHCI 2103 - wonky maps from Alan Dix


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Alan Dix 28/4/2013