By William Kent in 1978
A message to mapmakers: Highways are not painted red, rivers don't have county lines running down the middle, and you can't see contour lines on a mountain.
This opening sentence summarizes why maps are amazing. We can read a map and know what it is representing even though the symbols and text on the map look nothing like what they represent. A map is a set of symbols and text used for explaining something complex with a visually simple representation.
A map simplifies a complex geographic landscape in the same way that a data model simplifies a complex information landscape. (For a more thorough ...