By the time of the Napoleonic wars (1799–1815), kings and other national leaders were no longer appearing on European battlefields. Modern war spread out over wide expanses of territory. It could not be seen from one place. Kings and other leaders stayed at home and delegated war to their generals, who themselves directed the combat from far behind the engagement. War became known as an art in the West, as it long had been in China, requiring a specific new visual skill, which later came to be called ‘visualizing’. The task of the general was now to ‘visualize’ the battlefield as a whole, even though he could not see it. He had to add his imagination, insight and intuition to whatever he and his subordinates could see for themselves. The general visualized the battlefield as if from the air so as to imagine where his own forces were, the situation of the enemy and how the two might interact. This skill was first the attribute of the general and then became a highly specialized set of technologies. The result was a way to see the world from the air. It is not transparent or simple but presents itself as difficult, and open only to a few highly skilled people, interpreting data from machines
In the paragraph Mirzoeff explains how maps enabled generals, Kings, etc could command their armies from safe positions which decreased the threat of being attacked and therefore keeps them safe. Mirzoeff specifies how in the west, war became known as an art and had a required to be able to visualize their battlefield.