We derive an efficient algorithm for topographic mapping of proximity data (TMP), which can be seen as an extension of Kohonen's self-organizing map to arbitrary distance measures. The TMP cost function is derived in a Baysian framework of folded Markov chains for the description of autoencoders. It incorporates the data by a dissimilarity matrix and the topographic neighborhood by a matrix of transition probabilities. From the principle of maximum entropy, a nonfactorizing Gibbs distribution is obtained, which is approximated in a mean-field fashion. This allows for maximum likelihood estimation using an expectation-maximization algorithm. In analogy to the transition from topographic vector quantization to the self-organizing map, we suggest an approximation to TMP that is computationally more efficient. In order to prevent convergence to local minima, an annealing scheme in the temperature parameter is introduced, for which the critical temperature of the first phase transition is calculated in terms of and . Numerical results demonstrate the working of the algorithm and confirm the analytical results. Finally, the algorithm is used to generate a connection map of areas of the cat's cerebral cortex.