The development of cartographic techniques, products and applications has closely paralleled advances in human activities such as navigation, exploration, education, recreation, legislation and administration, throughout history. The nation state, as an instrument of societal organization, has influenced, and often directed, all such activity and has therefore impacted significantly on mapping. The epitome of such impact has been the emergence, maturity and success of national mapping agencies (NMAs), creating products of benefit in all these fields (along with more destructive activities, such as confrontation and conflict).