Everyone more or less knows what a map is. Whenever going on a trip or wandering around in a city that one does not know, people always use maps to keep from getting lost. Maps and directions are the first thing that tourists request when getting to another place in the world, and their importance in today’s society is unquestionable. There are road maps and street maps and many other types of maps. Yet, today there are even 3D maps that render the traditional map as being something too simple and too obscure for the traveler. But what is a map in the first place and how did it appear? Read on and find out more interesting info about maps and their history.
Scientifically speaking, a map is the graphic representation of a spatial concept or concepts. It appeared from a geographical need to help people orient themselves, and they are developed in a common ‘language’ that can be understood by individuals from different cultures and who speak different languages. Maps have been invented as one universal language which would make them easy to be read by people from different corners of the world and with different backgrounds.
Studying the history of maps can be quite interesting given the fact that they have few things in common apart from their function. Ancient maps were not only a representation of spatial concepts but they included information about everything there was to know about the people that would be encountered during an expedition. It is estimated that the oldest maps appeared in 2300 BC and they continued to increase in popularity by the Middle Ages. During this time, maps were often dominated by religious concepts and views and they were mainly used in navigation. It was not until the 19th century that the modern map as we all know it appeared. And moreover, it was not until the 20th century that 3D maps were developed.