Edney’s Mapping an Empire provides rich insights into the role of the military in knowledge production and the transformative power of the colonial state. Edney’s spatial history traces the British surveys of India from 1765 (when the Company became diwan of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa) and the Company state’s use of this cartographic knowledge to frame a new and increasingly coherent image of India. In part because of the consolidation of Mughal power over the bulk of the region, the British moved away from older conceptualizations of Asia inherited from Ptolemaic and Renaissance geography to view the whole ‘subcontinent’ as ‘India’. But, as Edney shows, this new image of India was only consolidated, elaborated, and endlessly reproduced with the rise of the Company as a territorial power. Maps produced by James Rennell and other military surveyors and Company
cartographers excised Southeast Asia, Afghanistan, and Central Asia to focus solely on ‘India’.
Edney suggests that with this shift in representational practice ‘Modern India was born’. Moreover, in framing India’s ‘national boundaries’, this new cartographic conception both reflected and reinforced the Company’s ambitions to extend its power beyond coastal entrepots to operate throughout India. As the region was reframed, the Company worked hard to legitimate the superiority of European cartography: its ‘scientistic ideology’ simultaneously disputed the value of South Asian geographical knowledge and disseminated new European spatial and disciplinary models.
Thus, mapping was not only at the heart of the Company’s political and economic power in South Asia, but also was a crucial element in its drive to ‘rationalise’ and ‘modernise’ the ‘native mind’. 
11 Edney reminds us that ‘[m]ilitary reformers of the later 1700s positioned mapmaking at the core of “military science”.’ Matthew H. Edney, Mapping an empire: the geographical construction of British India, 1765-1843 (Chicago, 1997), 18. Also see Matthew H. Edney, ‘British military education, mapmaking, and military map mindedness in the later Enlightenment’, Cartographic Journal 31 (1994), 14-20.
12 Edney, Mapping an empire, 9. 13 Ibid., 309-18. 14