The History of Maps, from the earliest known map to GPS and beyond: The Customer Journey Map

Nov 4, 2022

For centuries, mapmaking has been an essential tool for navigation and understanding the world around us. In this blog post, we'll take a look at the history of maps, from the earliest known examples to the modern-day technology of GPS. It’s time now for a better business map of the customer journey, as well.

The Fascinating History of Maps of Our World

The earliest known map was created by the Babylonians in 6th century BCE. This map, which is now housed in the British Museum, is a clay tablet that depicts the city of Nippur and its surroundings. It's thought that this map was used for administrative purposes, as it includes information on irrigation canals, boundaries, and buildings.

Mary Harrsch, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another early map that shows evidence of Babylonian influence is the Imago Mundi, which was created by the Greek philosopher Ptolemy in 150 CE. This map is notable for its use of latitude and longitude, as well as its depiction of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It also features a number of mythical creatures, including griffins and Scylla.

Credited to Francesco di Antonio del Chierico, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Age of Exploration 

During the Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries, mapmaking became increasingly sophisticated as cartographers began incorporating new technologies and methods. One significant advance came with the creation of nautical charts, which made it possible to accurately depict coastline features and sea levels. These charts were essential for navigators trying to cross oceans without getting lost. 

Another major development during this period was the use of perspective in mapmaking. Prior to this innovation, all maps had been drawn on a flat surface. But with the advent of perspective, cartographers were able to create more accurate 3D representations of landscapes. This technique reached its height with Dutch cartographer Joan Blaeu, which featured carefully rendered topographical features.

Joan Blaeu , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

GPS and Beyond

In recent years, advances in technology have led to even more sophisticated maps. Perhaps the most significant development has been satellite mapping, which makes it possible to create highly detailed images of any location on earth. Another major advance has come with GPS (global positioning system) technology, which allows users to pinpoint their exact location on a map at any given time.

Imagery ©2022 Maxar Technologies, Imagery ©2022 CNES/Airbus, Landsat/Copernicus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2022

Maps and Business

Maps have come a long way since the early Babylonian examples from 6th century BCE. Today's maps are more accurate than ever before thanks to satellite mapping and GPS technology—but they continue to serve the same essential purpose as their predecessors: helping us navigate our way through the world.

One area of human endeavor where maps have been lacking is in business. Often seen as an amorphous and fickle world, most business people don’t know that a map can be created of something that changes so often. In reality, with today’s technology, we can change the map of a business in real time, making it much easier to pinpoint your customer’s exact location on the journey and anything that’s holding them up. 

Like a map of traffic in New York City, a great business map can show you where there are traffic jams, where the road is closed, and lanterice routes.

Map data ©2022 Google

Using a great map, you can see where your customer journey is bottlenecking, where you need to make changes, and where things are flowing smoothly.

This is why we created The JAXX MetroMap™️:

Seeing your customer journey as you would see your drive across NYC or Berlin or Beijing allows you to make the changes your customers need. And just like being a great driver, the ability to smooth out the customer journey will expand your current customers and bring you new customers and brand loyalty.

Stop simply blindly following what you think your customer journey looks like and see the journey in its entirety with JAXX.