While exploration began to answer the mysteries of the geography of Africa, during the 18th century, cartography emerged at the forefront of intelligence and observation. British cartographers turned their attentions to West Africa, following the intellectual curiosity of explorers, seeking to map the unknown and increase the available realm of knowledge, “the single intellectual discipline concerned with building up a coherent body of geographical knowledge.” Early 18th century maps reflected the “European ignorance of African geography.” Cartographers such as John Senex and James Rennell, who mapped Mungo Park’s travels, laid the foundation for British cartography. However, as time progressed, there was a concrete change in the approach to map making. The African Association’s influences upon cartographers during the time of the Enlightenment led to a metamorphosis in map-making of the age. Silences appeared as Rennell and other cartographers, like Aaron Arrowsmith, increased the accuracy of maps. 18th century cartographers were motivated by the personal goals of cartographic authority and high political standing, which can be seen employing “maps as images giving them a unique role in shaping knowledge.”
While the African Association’s direct political ties positively affected British cartography of Africa during the late 18th century and Age of Enlightenment, cartographers of the age were more concerned with the “extraordinary authority of maps.” They used maps as a mean to gain higher political standing while attempting to become the utmost authority on the geography of Africa, “mapmaking was integral to the fiscal, political, and cultural hegemony of Europe’s ruling elites.” Cartographers sought “power through the acquisition and control of the geographic information…and prestige through the visible support of the arts and sciences.” The successes and accuracy of these maps of Africa from the hard work of the British cartographers shaped the eventual movement to 19th century imperialism and colonization in Africa, “the cartographic partition of Africa inextricably linked map-making and empire building. Yet the act of drawing lines on maps is only one example of how cartography furthered imperialism.”
 Matthew Edney, “Mathematical Cosmography and the Social Ideology of British Cartography, 1780-1820.” Imago Mundi, 46 (1994): 112.
 Thomas J. Bassett and Philip W. Porter, “From the Best Authorities’: The Mountains of Kong in the Cartography of West Africa.” Journal of African History, 32, no. 3 (1991): 383.
 Ibid, 370.
 Matthew Edney, “Mathematical Cosmography and the Social Ideology,” 109.
 Thomas J. Bassett, “Cartography and Empire Building in nineteenth-century West Africa,” Geographical Review 84, no. 3, (1994): 316.