A book about geographicai imagery which did not encompass the map would be like Hamlet without the Prince. Yet although maps have long been central to the discourse of geography they are seldom read as ‘thick’ texts or as a socially constructed form of knowledge.
‘Map interpretation , usually implies a search for ‘geographical features’ depicted on maps without conveying how as a manipulated form of knowledge maps have helped to fashion those features.* It is true that in political geography and the history of geographical thought the link is increasingly being made between maps and power-especially in periods of colonial history ” but the particular role of maps, as images with historically specific codes, remains largely undifferentiated from the wider geographical discourse in which they are often embedded. What is lacking is a sense of what Carl Sauer understood as the eloquence of mapss How then can we make maps ‘speak’ about the social worlds of the past?