YOU PROBABLY THINK you know what a map is. And chances are, you’re not totally wrong. Yes, maps are visual representations of how to get from A to B, but if you ask John Hessler, they’re more complex than that. “Trying to define what a map is is pretty difficult,” says Hessler. And he would know.
As a specialist in modern cartography and GIS at the Library of Congress, Hessler spends a lot of his time around maps. The Library of Congress has more than 6,000,000 in its collection, charting everything from Claudius Ptolemy’s earliest visions of the world to glowing representations of Facebook’s networking effects. In his new book Map: Exploring the World, Hessler outlines the history of maps and explains how they’ve simultaneously evolved and remained the same over thousands of years.
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