There’s a strange dichotomy at work in a country when people stop using maps in favor of GPS and start putting them on the walls as artwork. While most early maps were works of art and good cartographers to this day attempt to make their maps as beautiful of possible, the relegation of the World Wall Map to nothing more than a design accessory is troubling.
Maps are meant to be used, not just admired. Every map was designed to serve a practical function. Topographical maps were meant to be used by campers, backpackers and others who care about the physical dimensions of the space around them. Good road maps help those on long trips make their way from point A to point B with stop offs at interesting towns and landmarks along the way.
Academia and research still rely heavily on actual maps to teach the next generation of students about everything from history to astronomy. Some of the maps may now be computer generated, but that means that they may also be three dimensional and interactive, which makes them into even more effective tools for learning. As long as there are researchers and scientists who need to chart their findings in geographical space, there will be a need for practical maps.