We owe Bronze-Age Mesopotamia a lot. They gave us one of the first alphabets, code of law, and the first recorded beer recipe. They also gave us the first standardized, accurately surveyed maps. Before maps, knowledge of a place was purely subjective and experiential. Sure, a person could get directions like “walk towards the Sun until you hit the big tree, then hang a left”, but that was neither accurate nor objective. How left is left? How fast should they walk? What if the tree falls down or clouds obscure the sky? The traveler would have no choice but to wander, hoping to reach the destination purely by chance.