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Emotional Geography

Emotional Geography is a concept I’ve had for a web-based application that allows people to create customized maps with highlighted points of personal interest. The user types in a series of addresses, associates an event with each address (graduated from high school/ had first kiss /got married/ etc.), and clicks “submit”.

Emo_geoBasically it’s a configurable, visually interesting version of a Yahoo! Maps with the hotels highlighted. If you can program all of the hotels near a given point with an icon/ hover-for-more-info next to it, it seems an easy thing to plot up to, say, 10 addresses in a given geographic range with user-entered descriptions hovering over an appropriate icon (diploma/ lips/ wedding bells).

The underlying idea is that people have different "emotional geographies" for different times of their life (bus route to high school/ first neighborhood out of college/ places where you took your first love) and different sets of people (where I got stoned with the Burnouts/ where we trained & raced cross-country/ clients of my first ad firm).

These emo geos are usually tightly spaced and hold special places in our mind's eye, and can evoke floods of memory as much as an "our song" coming on the radio. So if you could easily plot these places, and describe them in your own way, and share them with others, that could serve as a central/ tangential community for others to add their own emo geos that glance against yours on the time/ space continuum.

Just an idea. What do you think? Does something like this exist already? Can you make the application? Lemme know.



I love the idea! Very forward thinking. Let us know if you find someone or some application that can do it.

Murdo Macdonald

Love the concept.

I'd like to try it with my students in Oakland?

Any news?


Hi Daniel,

not sure if youre still doing something with this. but you may or may not have seen
http://www.biomapping.net/ by Christian Nold.

which uses Galvanic Skin Response, used in lie detectors to register emotional peaks while walking along certain routes.

Jen Southern and Rob Lycett, both googleable are artists who work in this area as well and do some very interesting work.

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Salopes Galeries Gratuites

eh... really like it )


Hey Man, really nice idea..
The union of web and social concepts is wonderful...
I would like to have a map to associate with my first kiss =)
BTW, I loved the CityPayments site, I'm thinking to make something like that for the Brazilian Reality evolving mashups development...

Daniel X. O'Neil

Thanks, Teles!

Hit me with a link if you do anything similar in Brazil...

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Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!


I see this is a way old post, but I love, love the idea of emotional geography — and it is a concept I think of frequently - every other day or so. It's a term near and dear to me like my favorite hip-length, fuzzy, long-sleeved cardigan with ripped out pockets in the front.


great site. strange you have no mention of Mick Smith from Queens (canada)?

Daniel X. O'Neil

Thanks for the info, Greg. I added Mick Smith here: http://www.emotionalgeography.com/

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I love this idea of emotional geography! this super original and fun ... separate tambn can bring us good memories of places!

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Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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