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This paper scrutinises the general suitability of image mapping for particle image velocimetry (PIV) applications. Image mapping can improve PIV measurement accuracy by eliminating overlap between the PIV interrogation windows and an interface, as illustrated by some examples in the literature. Image mapping transforms the PIV images using a curvilinear interface-fitted mesh prior to performing the PIV cross correlation. However, degrading effects due to particle image deformation and the Jacobian transformation inherent in the mapping along curvilinear grid lines have never been deeply investigated. Here, the implementation of image mapping from mesh generation to image resampling is presented in detail, and related error sources are analysed. Systematic comparison with standard PIV approaches shows that image mapping is effective only in a very limited set of flow conditions and geometries, and depends strongly on a-priori knowledge of the boundary shape and streamlines. In particular, with strongly curved geometries or streamlines that are not parallel to the interface, the image-mapping approach is easily outperformed by more traditional image analysis methodologies invoking suitable spatial relocation of the obtained displacement vector.