In his interesting text on mapping, as the most common form of visualization of data, Brian Holmes distinguishes the need for location i.e. orientation as a helpful tool to extand our perception. In his comparison between psychophysical (cognitive individual oriented)as …
.. and semiotic (towards a reading of communicative knowledge exchange) oriented approach translating the carthographer’s world into a symbolic code or language ….
.. to invent finally the social imaginary as a shared zone of mental images, which creates the possibility to transform collective representations.
And the communicational diagram of map-making shows this possibility as well, to the extent that the maker and the user’s subjective realities only partially overlap, allowing for disjunction and difference to enter the circuit. The emergence through dissensus of new images, of new maps within the communications loop, corresponds to the radical or “instituting” aspect of the social imaginary, its creative capacity, its power to transform collective representations or “mental maps” – and ultimately, to redesign the real.
see also: The map is not the territory:
(..Always, the process of representation will filter it out so that the mental world is only maps of maps, ad infinitum ..)