A mental map (also called a cognitive map) is a personal visualization of spatial information.
Mental mapping is the representation of an individual or group’s cognitive map, hand sketched and/or computer- assisted, in drafting and labeling a map or adding to and labeling an already existing map. Mental mapping is a way of visually speaking through places what words alone cannot articulate.
A mental map is an individual’s own internal map – incomplete, biased and personal- of their known world.
Internal maps often combine factual information with judgments or subjective interpretations. Mental maps include knowledge of landmarks, route connections, distance and direction relations, as well as non-spatial attributes and emotional associations.
Here are two examples of mental maps from a website created by Rachelle Annechino and Yo-Shang Cheng as part of their Masters project on ‘Visualizing Mental Maps of San Francisco ’ (2011):
Bourneman, E. ‘What are mental maps?’, Geolounge, https://www.geolounge.com/mental-maps/