Mapping Emotions
July 21st, 2007 by JTJ

Yet another interesting innovation of mapping.  Imagine what this might mean for analysis of tourism sites or crowd control?

From O'Reilly Radar (


Bio Mapping Project in Stockport This Weekend

Posted: 20 Jul 2007 01:04 PM CDT

By Brady Forrest

sf biomap

The Bio Mapping project sponsors people to walk around an area with a GPS and a Galvanic Skin Response sensor and logger. The emotional responses of the participants are then mapped. The map of San Francisco (pdf) was recently completely. They had previously developed a beautiful map of Greenwich (viewable via Flash viewer or Google Earth).

The project has been run by Christian Nold for several years now. Here's how he describes the project in an interview:

You ask people to go out into the streets and take an emotion walk. Can you explain?

Bio Mapping is a participatory methodology for people to talk about their immediate environment, locality and communal space. I'm trying to use 3D visualisation as a way of talking about the space. It's not representational. As part of this method I have developed a device, which can be used by lots of people. It consists of a lie detector connected to a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit, which measures your location and your physiological arousal at the same time. By combining the two I can talk about physiological arousal in certain locations. A Galvanic Skin Response sensor in the form of finger cuffs measures the sweat level. Fitted out with this device, people go for a walk and when they return their data is visualised and annotated.


By downloading data onto my laptop data it is then transformed by my software and then projected onto Google Earth. The Galvanic Skin Response sensor measures the amount of skin conductivity. I'm suggesting that a change in skin conductivity not only tells something about your body, but also suggests an emotive event. I'm plotting the amount of change in the skin resistance level versus location. There are various technical transformations and averaging I have to do to the data. I'm sampling once every four seconds, because I found this optimal for this kind of spatial representation.

This weekend they are biomapping Stockport. If you happen to be in the UK you can participate — I know that I would. I would love to set this up at one of our conferences to watch the emotional response of attendees throughout the day and at different sessions. Did the keynote speaker or product launch really get people excited? What about that debate?


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