Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Geography (MS)

Degree Level





Jackson Cothren

Committee Member

Fiona Davidson

Second Committee Member

Frank Jacobus


cartography, cognitive map, image, Kevin Lynch, mental map


An area of focus, used in early and contemporary forms of cognitive geography research, is the ‘cognitive map’, a concept that suggests “that people hold a map-like database in their minds to which they can add and use to tackle geographical tasks”. Kevin Lynch, an urban planner in the 1960s, was an early adopter of the cognitive map approach to reveal spatial cognition, what or how people see their environment, specifically cognition of the urban environment. Lynch’s research aimed to develop empirical methods, to identify how people make spatial relationships. Contemporary tools like machine learning are now considered relevant for such tasks. The proposed methods outline steps for categorizing a neural network image knowledge base grounded in perception theory. Categorizations and cartographic representations are made using GIS and locally weighted regression of the experiential phenomenon of structural density along roadways in Faytteville, Arkanasas. An alternative method of characterizing the city, one that accounts for the phenomenological as experienced from a human field of view during travel is offered.