The map is one of the oldest forms of nonverbal communication. Humans were probably drawing maps before they were writing texts. Mapmaking may even predate formal language. As far as historians and geographers can determine, every culture in every part of the world uses and makes maps. This deep lineage reflects the descriptive usefulness of a mapa map is one of the best proofs that a picture is worth a thousand words.
To demonstrate this, try this brief experiment: try describing to a friend precisely where you are now, the route you took to get to this place from your previous location, where you are in relation to, lets say, the nearest food market and or the post office, and the route you would take to get to those two places. Youll find that its very hard to effectively formulate this explanationwhich requires that you create an image of space, place, relational geography, and directionusing only words. I wouldnt be surprised if you soon find yourself drawing air-maps, gesturing forcefully with your hands. If youre sitting at a kitchen table, youll probably start sketching an imaginary picture on the table-top, using the salt and pepper shakers as place-markers.
Congratulations, youve just made a map!