I think that a true and heartfelt love of maps is just one of those "guy" things. I like a good map as much as the next backpacker - they certainly are useful in keeping me aware of where the heck I am - but maps are just tools to me.
Some men, on the other hand, seem capable of spending hours pouring over the details of a good map. They spread it open on a table in front of them, and lovingly finger its contour lines. I'm not sure what they see on the paper that I'm missing. Perhaps the map is enough to transport these men into a mental wilderness, preceding their real journey with an imagined one that holds the promise of undiscovered lands and untrod paths.
Last night, in preparation for a trip we'll be taking this weekend, G spent about half an hour folding and re-folding the topographic map of our destination. (Of course he did this while I was watching TV so that the rustling was just irritating enough for me to wonder how it could possibly take that long to fold a map!) Then, once the folds were in the right places (and bear in mind, it started out folded neatly) he added clear tape along the folds to protect the map from wearing out along those lines over time. Clearly the map is to be considered a precious object, and should be protected.
Maps are important to anyone who gets into backcountry. There's no doubt that they can save your life, assuming you know how to read them and maybe have a compass with you. But the love affair with maps is a bit of a mystery to me, along with the market for car magazines and the ability to spend a whole day standing in a river with a fishing rod. I guess I'm a girl through and through.