The Greenwich pedestrian emotion map; created by fixing tiny thumb-cuffs measuring galvanic skin response (a crude measure of stress) to walkers, as they moved through the streets of the London borough of Greenwich. GPS devices and simple note-taking was also involved. It’s now available as a Google Earth layer, and there are also further emotion maps being made for British cities. This is all still very much in the prototype stage (it’s difficult to visually read useful data off the maps), but looks promising. I’m thinking that the data doesn’t need to be seen “all at once” (see below); but perhaps just as a thin route-line, and then a change-of-colour or the blooming-of-a-glowing-spot (PDF, 250kb) when a mouse cursor follows the route-line and happens upon a stress place.

Perhaps emotion maps could be combined with noise maps; real-time ones made with the help of mobile phone companies, rather than by sending a civil servant out with a microphone every six years. Companies might capture thousands of tiny samples of mobile phone conversations (a few seconds each, thus anonymous and with no implications for privacy) from particular outdoor locations, then run the clips through software that would detect the level of background noise, average the noise-level from thousands of clips for each geographic spot, and then plot that average on an accurate noise map of a city?