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Literature & Language
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The Power of Maps (Essay Sample)

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The Power of maps
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The Power of Maps
Maps are believed to be the power wheels of every part of the World since a higher percentage of the universe is indicated on a certain map. Though Maps are used as guides not every map shows what is needed as they are produced by people for their own benefit or purposely their field of study hence the reason to why there are numerous maps in the World.
In essence when a user is studying a map he expects to see the area represented on the map covered in detail. However, at times it becomes hard for the user to make sense of what he is looking through as a result of the complexity of the map. This is especially true when the map is not objective. The contents and representations on the map may be selective. This means the producer had constructed the map intentionally or accidentally.
Maps have power although it's hidden. Historically, this is true during the early expeditions among the European explorers. These expeditions were sponsored mainly by a royal house, nation- state, a religious order or a trading company. When the European explorer found a territory not known in Europe, the first thing he would do was to name the land after the sponsor. Then, he would draw the territory on the map which stamped the ownership of the sponsor to the land.
Nowadays, it is reflected on a different scale, for example, highway maps. The highway maps, the illustrations and texts therein may convey different messages. The messages may reflect economic concerns such as industrial development and tourism promotion to cultural aspects, for example, patriotism, racism or partisanship.
Part of the power from maps comes from their selectivity. This is whereby some information is included while others are totally ignored. The selectivity may be accidental, intentional or the need for generalization. In the case of generalization it is due to the fact that not everything in the region can be covered on the map. This would pose difficulty for a user to use it effectively since it would be totally muddled. The only problem with generalization is that relevant information on the map may be excluded when they are in fact of great importance. An example is of USGS topographic maps where visible aspects of landscapes such as gold mines are shown while other equally visible aspects like garbage dumps are excluded since they are considered unsuitable. Therefore, maps exert powers by what they show and what they do not show. If a place is not shown, then it is presumed that place does not exist. In other instances, maps may show places that do not exist at all. This may result from error, pure imaginatio...
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