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The Hohenberg-Kohn theorem states that the ground state electron density completely determines the external potential acting on an electron system. Inspired by this fundamental theorem, we developed a novel approach to map directly the electron potential in surface systems: linear response theory applied to the total electron density as measured with scanning tunneling microscopy determines the external potential. Potential imaging is demonstrated for the s-p derived surface state on Au(111), where the "herringbone" reconstruction induces a periodic potential modulation, the details of which are revealed by our technique.