The understanding of spatial information, which is transferred via maps, often depends on personal knowledge, variation of presentation forms and individual experience. Thus the adaptation to user knowledge and the individual point of view could make the communication process more effective. But still presentation forms in maps lack of comprehensive user-adaptation and individualisation, although digital technologies enhanced an adaptation of the presentation forms in the past decade with the help of multimedia, alternate human-computer interfaces and interactive content exploration. Main problems seem to be the acquisition, visualisation and modelling of individual user behavior/structures, almost unpredictable changes of user needs due to particular situation development and from a technical viewpoint a full automatic generalisation process according to information depth to follow perceptional parameters.
Emotional response to spatial related items may enhance the individual use of landmarks in navigation and wayfinding tasks. These experience-, time-and location based informations of individual emotions may initiate personal navigation solutions, highly influence route selection processes and shape the used components of language for route communication. Thus the effect of individual -emotional/mental maps- on communicating and understanding spatial related information seems to be very high.
Pragmatical solutions in cartography mostly adapt their content to a common understanding/knowledge of user classes, where specific behaviors and needs, that are associated with user groups, form the initial point for the cartographic modelling process. The resulting cartographic presentation form then may change according to the modelled user groups or purposes, which generally does not include individual user models. With psychological notions an individual user model names the internal knowledge of a person, whereas a common knowledge may be the external one.
The question, which accompanies a possible modelling of internal knowledge structures for cartographic purposes, concerns a retrieval for a way to combine internal and external knowledge; either for few reference points or detailed structures. Other disciplines, e.g. brain surgery in medicine, try to map brain areas due to their functionality and therefore build up a generally (external) usable ruleset for these individual areas. In a similar way some fields in psychology try to explain observations and individual behavior by a common valid ruleset incorporating external knowledge.
In order to use -emotional response- for cartographic tasks the borderline of internal and external knowledge has to be broken. This paper follows the hypothesis that other disciplines found some ways (or are close to find ways) to combine the individual knowledge with the external one; and that this way is adaptable to cartography. A review of existing methods in medicine and psychology should lead to a result which either opens new perspectives to navigation or clearly defines the competence limits of cartography in this field.