NPR – Review of On the Map by Simon Garfield

The fight for mapping supremacy between two tech giants blew up this fall when Apple, in revising its mobile operating system, dumped the Google Maps app overboard. To Google’s delight, no doubt, Apple’s own maps app wobbled badly out of the gate, and amid a consumer outcry, a public apology and quiet firings, all of us caught a glimpse of just how high the stakes are in today’s mapping game.

But according to Simon Garfield’s delightfully meandering new book, On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks, this is nothing new. Maps, Garfield proposes, are once again what they were in “the age of the Spanish conquistadors — guarded, proprietary and inestimably valuable as routes to further riches.”

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