Laboratoire Image et Ville Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg-France The aim of this communication is to compare data recorded by sketch maps with those recorded by materials that people dispose in a display unit. Each time the researcher investigates cognitive maps of an urban area, he or she only access to a representation of this cognitive image of space rather than it expression. Then, the ability of the respondents to communicate their cognitive image to the researcher is always a problem when comparisons concern social or cultural analysis. Furthermore, in the context of globalisation and high mobility, most of the questions in urban planning are to detect social or cultural differences for spatial representation on a same urban area. Therefore, the wide investigation of cognitive maps by sketch map, since the sixties, reveal that this technique is not efficient in this perspective: motor skill, creation of symbolic representation of physical elements, familiarity with paper and pencil format, etc., are strongly dependent to the social groups. Generally, these factors do not interest researchers and they try to minimize them. In this perspective, we propose to use symbolic but expressive standardised materials that respondents manipulate to communicate their spatial image of an urban area in order to compare social and cultural groups. Conclusions relate to differences observed between standardised materials and the sketch map technique