In the history of linguistics, maps continuously stimulated scientific progress. From the 19th century, German dialectology displayed details of linguistic variation, e.g. in Georg Wenker’s project, without challenging the idea of the unity of the (national) languages. Similarly, the worldwide diversity of languages was pictured in maps like those in Julius Klaproth’s atlas. Yet for a very long time the geography of language contributed to the idea of a linguistically and ethnically homogeneous nation. Until today, this visual simplification remains effective, e.g. due to the difficulty of adequately displaying the complexities of multilingual spaces. Recent multimodal approaches in linguistics try to use Big Data, the methods of ‘Linguistic Landscapes’ or dynamic maps to overcome these limitations.