Lived and perceived space during lock-down in a sensitive map approach

This paper describes the use of sensitive mapping to explore individuals' experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown in France.


Laurence Jolivet, Catherine Dominguès, Éric Mermet and Sevil Seten, published by the International Cartographic Association.

Key features

During the first COVID-19 lockdown in France in spring 2020, a seminar at École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) moved online and had participants map their personal spaces and experiences during the lockdown. The approach they used is known as sensitive mapping, which focuses on personal experiences rather than traditional cartography. Participants included meaningful elements from their environment and personal feelings like emotions, opinions, and sensory experiences.

The resulting maps were diverse, combining traditional cartography with drawings, photos, and other materials. They focused on stable features like buildings and green spaces, as well as more personal aspects like social interactions and feelings about the lockdown and pandemic. While some maps resembled traditional topographic maps, most were subjective in terms of distance and layout. This sensitive mapping approach provided unique insights into individual experiences during the lockdown and could be used to complement statistical studies.


Jolivet, L., Domingues, C., Mermet, E. & Seten, S. (2021). Lived and perceived space during lock-down in a sensitive map approach. Proceedings of the International Cartographic Association, 4.