Herodotus laid down his world on parchment with ink. Samuel de Champlain traveled with paper and pencil. They - and every mapmaker in between and since - created map objects that were imbued with authority.

Maps have always been trusted for complex reasons; social, cultural, political. But for millennia map-making and even map-reading were the province of an elite few, mirroring the dynamic of priests who owned the word of god when the world was 5% literate. Only in our great-grandparents’ lifetimes have maps been democratized, their use become common for road navigation and capital-memorizing.

The same way it shook everything else in our lives, the internet has brought maps a step further. Common map interfaces are available in every browser and show only the most basic of facades - these maps contain the world within, and the whole of geography in a 4”x3” container on a glowing screen. Cartographers are only just starting to grasp the possibilities here - this technology isn’t yet a decade old - but now that maps of everything are available to everyone, the size of the world has changed.