Behaviour mapping

  • Can be conducted either once off (i.e. during one observational session, maximum 2 hours) or on repeated occasions.
  • The researcher notes who is present and the behaviours at different locations.
  • Can provide useful indications of future research directions.

The mapping can be either a hand-drawn map or a print-out of the area annotated with observations. As with other forms of observation, consideration must be given to how the researcher presence may influence the behaviours observed.

  • Due to the physical structure of the site, mapping was conducted by observing for short periods from a particular vantage point, noting how people moved through the area, what they were doing and areas of focus, before moving to an alternative vantage point.
  • Mapping was first completed externally (as the houses were shut) and then from inside the buildings.
  • During the external mapping, a map of the area and the relative locations of the buildings was drawn. For the interior mapping, long-hand notes were used to record how people were moving around the rooms rather than noting the observations onto a visual representation.

Behaviour mapping was carried out early in the Arnol Blackhouse and Cables Wynd House studies. Walking the area around Cables Wynd House helped to build an understanding of a site’s physical environment, surrounding services, where people gathered, and the connections between areas.

Although these mapping exercises were conducted over a relatively short period, most of the initial observations were borne out by subsequent discussions.

Physical traces mapping

  • A means of identifying unobservable activity.
  • The researcher notes the type and location of any evidence that suggests otherwise unrecorded activities have taken place, for example overnight.
  • Time taken will depend on the size of the site and density of material recorded.

A physical traces mapping can be a hand-drawn or printed map of the area annotated with evidence of activity. Additional recording, such as photographs, can also be helpful for future reference.

Time taken approx. 3 hours = 2 hours walking the site (8 blocks, 1 double length) and an hour of post-walk work matching photos to the hand drawn map.

  • Before going to the site, it was possible to get a sense of the environment from maps and records online (including Canmore) and in Council documents. As the Lane is a public right of way, it was possible to digitally traverse it (as of May 2018) using street view on Google Maps.
  • The Lane was mapped block by block by drawing a basic map and noting on the page if people were present in the Lane, physical evidence of activity (mostly graffiti), the nature of the environment, and my own feelings and responses.
  • The physical evidence and other points of interest were also photographed (resulting in 162 images that were linked to locations on the map).
  • The Google Maps images also offered the potential to see how much/which graffiti had been created or removed in 6 months by comparing the images from the two mappings.

  • It is important to maintain a comprehensive approach early on. Very selective recording will limit the scope of later analysis and interpretation.
  • The mapping helped in identifying activities and potential communities (and individual writers) connected with the site.
  • The practice of mapping provided personal knowledge of the Lane that was useful subsequently when engaging with respondents and interpreting other material, i.e. interviews and online photo analysis.
  • These subsequent engagements also provided a deeper understanding of the mapping record (in particular the graffiti), in which the map was a useful reference document.
  • As with traditional maps, this method focused on documenting the specific locations of graffiti works. These forms of presentation risk missing important aspects that inform practice-based heritage, such as changing relationships, cultural influences, and connections between places.

Participatory mapping

  • Group activity, with maps either completed jointly or individually and then discussed.
  • Time taken approx. 2 hours, allowing time for discussion as well as creation.
  • Draws from techniques of ‘counter mapping’, to reveal connections, processes and practices that might not be apparent from formal or dominant perspectives.

Participants are asked to note on a map (either one they have drawn themselves or an existing map/photo) points of interest or significance, memories, connections, feelings, and observations. The maps can contain anything participants choose, combining what happens at different times, and need not follow an aerial/scale representation.

In this case the mapping was incorporated into a community event (in other contexts, mapping can be combined with a site visit). This activity took place as part of an open forum (2 hours), for which parallel ‘work stations’ had been set up in a community hall.

  • People were asked to draw their own maps but preferred (in keeping with the other work stations) to comment on post-it notes, which were then placed on the relevant part of a pre-printed map. The pre-printed map was an aerial view of the broch and immediate surrounds but not the wider area (though people were encouraged to make those connections).
  • The fact people were standing around a single table also encouraged a discursive rather than individual, creative response to the exercise. People were moving around the room, meaning the group configuration changing slightly during the session.
  • The exercise required some light facilitation, prompting people to identify aspects they particularly liked but also to think about walking through the site and the activities that happen there.
  • There was a degree of discussion between participants and verbal feedback directed to the facilitator, rather than added directly to the map. These points were written on post-it notes and then confirmed that they had been understood and captured correctly.
  • The comments were later transcribed into an electronic version and colour coded to show thematic groups.
  • Observations about the exercise were written up as notes afterwards.
  • The resulting map was annexed to the site report and printed out as a large A3 poster, to allow for further annotation during the discussion meeting or thereafter.

  • The participatory mapping activity gathered a wider range of associations in the same amount of time as the stakeholder meeting that preceded it.
  • Responses covered why and when people visited, activities, feelings and emotions, and how the site connected with the wider landscapes and other narratives of community and place.
  • There was a degree of discussion between participants, but the group situation may have inhibited the sharing of deeply personal reflections (there were no specific memories recorded) or more disparate points of view.

Other examples of participatory mapping:

Community Map of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage site, developed with support from Historic Environment Scotland and the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute.

Queering the Map of Our City, exploring LGBT+ places, spaces, and stories of Edinburgh, developed with support from the Scottish Civic Trust, Scotland’s Urban Past, and LGBT Health & Wellbeing.