THE POWER OF MAPS:
Its interesting how someone can actually write a book centered around something as simple as a map. In our daily lives, we don’t quite realize the importance of a map and how vital it is in representing, illustrating and visualizing a particular place. Whether we use it digitally or on paper.
You can map anything. Conventionally, if a map isn’t talking about a network of roads or places in general, we don’t tend to consider it a map. In reality there are so many types of maps. Maps that point out religions, climatic regions, soils, natural vegetation, etc.Anything at all.
True, a map has a literal, obvious meaning, but it also gives us a lot more. For example, take an Annual Precipitation map. We can infer so much more from this map rather than just how much rainfall a particular region receives. It indirectly tells us about the kind of vegetation cover that a particular region has, not just that, you can also develop a rough idea as to the kind of lifestyles of the inhabitants of that region. The kind of precipitation the region receives, the kind of food that grows there, the income level of the people, etc. Also, a map not only conveys the physical boundaries of a region, it also speaks about ownership. In fact one of the major reasons for the existence of a map is to emphasize on ownership and territory.
Not many know this, but a mind-map is also considered a map. It is basically a map of your thoughts. It represents how one thought leads to another and how all of these then combine to form a solid idea and build a bigger picture.
I like that the author has mentioned how maps never remain the same. They change with time. He talks about satellite images of the Earth and how they keep changing year after year, month after month. The physical boundaries of a particular territory will never remain the same. Like the author states, maps are merely a graphic representation of some real aspect of the world. In other words, a map is like a mirror.
It is interesting how the author states that maps connect the past and future. A map is always drawn by analyzing the past or they are drawn out by keeping in mind how the future conditions might be. In a way, there is no connection to the present. A map only connects the past to the future.
Here is a map of the route I take everyday from my residence to college: