The Earth's surface is around 510 million square kilometres.
It's covered by mountains, forests, oceans, deserts, and cities.
It's impossible to thoroughly survey all of our surroundings from ground level.
Instead, man has developed different ways of representing the world and its characteristics, using pictures.
Cartography, or map-making, is by no means a modern practice.
From pre-historic cave paintings, to ancient maps of Babylon, through the Age of Exploration, and into the 21st century, people have been creating and using maps to explain and navigate their way through the world.
Traditionally, maps are two-dimensional drawings.
They can be used to represent physical features, like mountains or roads.
They use scale – where the size of the features on the map is directly proportionate to the true size of the landscape.
Thematic maps represent geographic concepts, such as population size or language distribution.
Although traditional maps remain the most common, modern technology has given us new ways to view the world.
Aerial photography and satellite imagery allow us to see unusual features, archaeological sites, and even islands we never knew existed.
Satellites can produce composite images of an entire hemisphere, and show us how the Earth changes with seasons, wars, agriculture, population, and forestry.
Using sonar we can discover the topography of the bottom of the sea.
In these ways, maps allow us to escape physical boundaries, and explore and understand the world in its entirety.