X. Form Follows Function

Making Maps Intellectually Accessible. To make proper sense of old maps, it is first necessary to understand the reasons why they were made and used. Although people often talk about “maps” in a generic way, as if all maps are alike, there are actually significant differences in maps based upon their various functions. As a result they cannot all be treated in the same way. A major task of our outreach is therefore to make these differences clear to the users of old maps.

The three maps in this section exemplify three basic kinds of map that entail different functions and different spatial conceptions: maps of property (item 34), maps of place (item 35), and maps of region (item 36). See Matthew H. Edney, “Mapping Parts of the World,” In Maps: Finding Our Place in the World, ed. James R. Akerman and Robert W. Karrow, Jr. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 117-57.