Bio Mapping

Bio Mapping walk in Greenwich


1 So what is the use for Bio Mapping ?
I have had an amazing range of people come and show their interest for this project. Everybody from marketing people trying to gauge shopping habits to grassroots activists in Palestinian trying to demonstrate the stress caused by checkpoints.
Bio Mapping visualises our subtle relationship between the emotional world and the external world - anybody who is interested in this juncture might have a "use" for Bio Mapping.

2 Does this thing really WORK ????
Yes, the device clearly detects changes in physiological arousal in everybody. The challenge is interpreting this personal data. This is why participants are always asked to interpret and annotate their own maps. Somebody else's coloured dots might mean very little to us, but to them it opens up an experiential world.

3 Have you thought of using some additional sensors to verify the results from your devices ?
Sure, I started this project by doing some extensive testing with extremely expensive devices with multiple biometric sensors. I found that galvanic skin response as well as heart rate are really useful indicators of emotional arousal. I did find thought hat GSR responded the quickest allowing me to pinpoint any emotional event with much more accuracy. There is also an issue of making the resulting data easy for people to interpret. One data source in relation to geographic location is much simpler to comprehend than two. I haven't ruled out adding heart rate though.

4 How many people have used the devices so far ?
I think the number must be around 300 and counting. Why don't you download some of the map data and have a look.

5 Does it work when its really hot outside ? What if I start running ... ?
The devices are detecting the rate of change of the galvanic skin response. When its hot outside or you are exercising it simply raises your baseline but your GSR still changes according to mental events. Believe me I tested it myself in Bangalore, India :)
If during the middle of your walk you suddenly started running you would see a momentary arousal increase which would flatten out again pretty quickly.

6 What if it rains?
Put the devices and the finger cuffs into your pocket and keep them dry. If they get wet it will distort your readings.

7 Is this project Open Source ? Can you give me the source code ?
The project is Open Data - you can download all the data I have accumulated at all the workshops so far I am also now using GPX an open standard. The project has been developed solely by myself and while I am totally keen on Open Source, I would really need to know that a bunch of people would really feed back into the project and help develop it further. So if you are seriously interested in working on this send me an email and we can discuss it

Currently the hardware code is written in Pic basic while the desktop mapping is done using a variety of tools including Director lingo as well as Processing(Java). It would be great to get more people with Processing skills involved.

8 What can I do with the Bio Mapping data you provide on this site ?
Download the GPX files and then visualise them online here. I have substituted the elevation tag with my own GSR arousal. Have fun

9 Have you thought about attaching these devices to pets?

Not really, but why don't you buy a device off me and try it out :)

Christian Nold
If you would like to join my mailinglist go to

Please support this work


Creative CommonsW3C XHTML W3C CSS
All the work on the Bio Mapping website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 2.5 License. The CSS is adapted from Intensive Station

Last Updated 22.08.07


Hello I need to get feedback from people about what they think about the Bio Mapping project. Please help by filling out this online form. Thanks so much !!!


I am in Tokyo speaking and running a Bio Mapping workshop at the Dislocate 07 conference. Come and join us if you are around.


Link to all the press coveage

The San Francisco Emotion Map is complete. At the end of July I will be Bio Mapping in Tokyo. Until then I am working on my book and setting up a project in Stockport and Stoke Newington. Please see my main site for more info.


There is a new interview about the Bio Mapping project.


Bio Mapping has won the SciArt R&D award which will give me time to write a book about the project and commission some critical / historical essays around the project. If you are intersted in writing one get in touch!

Live interview on WAMU US public radio.


New articles about Bio Mapping on the Discovery Channel the New Scientist and on Slashdot in the German Telepolis, Italian MondoGIS , French Liberation and Techno Science as well as British Council magazine


A high quality MPEG4 video of the Greenwich Emotion Map is available for download


I was interviewed on BBC World Service and NewsTalk106. See Tom Hagler's walk in Covent Garden.
(requires Google Earth)


The Observer carries an article on Bio Mapping. Click on the links to view David Smith's walks in rural Bibury as well as 'Murder Mile' in Hackney.
(requires Google Earth)