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Maps are graphic representations of the natural world and of culture and society. General definitions of maps typically include references to “simplified depictions of space” or “flat representations of some part of the earth's surface” that include “graphic representation of features.” Maps are, however, a much more complex phenomenon. Maps are among the most successful forms of visual communication invented by humankind and arguably a critical element of human cognition. Maps are a key way of recording and illustrating information. They enable people to visually comprehend how space is organized. The power of maps to shape opinions, communicate ideas, and influence decision making has ensured their central role in economic and political life for millennia. Maps find uses in a wide variety of areas such ...

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