The aim of this communication is to compare data recorded by sketch maps with those recorded by figurative materials that people dispose in a display unit. Each time the researcher investigates cognitive maps of an urban area, at the city or neighbourhood scale, 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 comparison 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 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 groups. Is this tool minimise problem of motor skill, abstract and symbolic representation of physical elements, or does it appear new problem of symbolisation with the standardised materials? Which problem? Who prefer manipulate standardised materials and who prefer drawing? Are we always observe the diversity of spatial structure (route map, survey map, etc.) with standardised materials? Are the necessary limitative classification of standardised materials have a suggestive influence on the spatial product? And at least, is it easier to analyse the product of this tool rather than those of the sketch map?To answer to these questions, we ask 30 persons per group (students in geography, workers in city-center without universitary diploma) : “which are your knowledge of the city-center of Strasbourg. We are interested to record your knowledge spatially”. Half of each group of respondents begin by the sketch map task, and one week after by the standardised materials task, and the second half of groups begin by the opposite order. In all the conditions, respondents have fifteen minutes to elaborate their spatial product. Conclusions relate to similarities and differences observed between standardised materials and the sketch map technique. Indicators used in this comparison are qualitative and quantitative: typology of spatial structure and its conservation from one’s to the other task, number of element, rate of each category of physical element and its conservation, etc.