Another very important aspect to map making and map reading back in the days of the exploration of the world was the ability it gave countries to impose dominion over the lands that it explored first.
In the case of the British Empire it was of paramount importance to carefully lay out the areas that they had visited first in order for them to lay claim to the resources and the land mass itself that those discoveries uncovered. The same could be said for the French and the Spanish during their days of exploring the new world.
Without maps to show that they had been there first their claims to those lands could be disputed by others but by having that visual evidence and knowing the region better could smooth over disputes and allow follow up visits to more easily be able to get to the region and disperse either troops or settlers without having to first plot out a route not knowing what dangers they may face.
It was for these reasons that maps were very closely guarded and even subject to Royal or Imperial rules before they could be disseminated to the public at large.
The Power of the Maps
Maps were a true source of power for expanding empires, giving them an upper hand over rivals seeking to expand their own property claims in regions hitherto considered wild or unexplored.
While many a war or battle was fought over territory just as many cases were settled by showing the maps generated by the trailblazers who could then justify why that particular region should belong to them because they had been there first.
Without these maps there would have been even more disagreement over who had dominion over a certain land or space.
For expanding powers these claims were of utmost importance, the history of which is still felt in modern times.