Throughout history, mapmakers have been much sought after. They created representations of landscapes that could be used for exploration, military or trade purposes. The maps they drew, however, often only represented the ideas and perspectives of the people who paid for the maps: kings, armies and business leaders. In other words, people who already wielded substantial power.
But in the last 15 to 20 years, mapping applications and technology has developed so rapidly that mapmaking has moved away from the realm of experts. Now, anyone with access to the internet can add locational information to web pages, photos and videos and share them to what is increasingly known as the ‘Geoweb’. With little specialized knowledge, people can now make maps using Geoweb (Web 2.0) applications such as Google Maps , OpenStreetMap and Bing Maps .
The change began in part in the mid-1980s when the geographer, Brian Harley, started to talk about the subtexts in maps and thus their social implications. He encouraged mapmakers and ordinary people to use maps to achieve a greater sense of empowerment for the powerless members of society.