A further step in the development of spatial knowledge was initiated by the growth of geographical knowledge due to the expansion of the spaces certain societies inhabited, controlled or explored. As a consequence, a new kind of representation of spatial knowledge occurred, i. e., the representation by geographical maps.
It turned out that the great variety of maps show a common developmental pattern. Maps of a basic type represent primarily the relation between landmarks such as major paths between named locations, rivers, mountains, coastal lines, lakes, etc. However, ancient sources such as Ptolemy’s Geography show that there were early attempts to embed landmarks into context-independent frameworks such as coordinates constructed by projecting celestial coordinates to the spherical earth. The results of the analysis of such attempts suggests that this kind of representation is one of the roots of the Newtonian concept of space as a container. Ongoing work aims at developing an elaborate classification system for all kinds of plots, plans, and maps. In particular, in order to classify the great variety of geographical maps within the developmental scheme from the representation of relations between landmarks to coordinate systems, preliminary categories of their properties have been defined and applied to a representative selection of maps which reflect the change of the concepts of space involved.