Maps help you understand the state of something

If you don’t understand the state of something better after looking at a map, it’s not doing its job.

Maps are always an abstraction (The Map is not the Territory) so there is always something about the state of the thing being mapped that the map will not capture. However, this is not always a bad thing! You can think of a map as compressing and structuring knowledge similar to how Jargon is a mechanism for compressing information.

The compression mechanism means that a map is always going to be opinionated about what is signal and what is noise. Therefore, the design of a map should never be independent of its audience. More context can decrease the signal to noise ratio of communication for people who already have that context.

A Stock and Flow Models can be a map, if it reflects the state of reality, but is not necessarily a map.


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