That's true of movies versus books too - reading novels can lead to imagery screens in the mind, and even dilatory meandering of the brain, at least mine.
I've developed a pretty fair sense of space over the years (better than some of my other senses by far) and happen to very much like maps, not just for their information but their layout, general appearance.
I remember planning our trip to Italy in 1988, and staring at the map of Rome, trying to figure out where to pick a hotel back in the days of buying a guidebook for advice. We had never been to Europe much less Rome. I remember picking a 1 star (with garden) in Fodor's that was in the Aventine area, somewhat near the Colosseum, and keeping staring at the map over and over.
Getting there was a sensory explosion, I couldn't have imagined the area in three dimension, but I had had fun trying. Hingehead, now on a trip to Portugal, has expressed a similar take, in that we both don't want to see a lot of photos of a place before we get there, liking the surprise. Several places in Rome have the element of surprise going for them. For example, at the vatican, if you approach from side streets instead of the main road cut by Mussolini, you get to have the piazza and church 'veiled' by Bernini's giant colonnade, the walking through of which make you feel tiny, only to emerge with a big sky over a spectacular scene. Similarly with Piazza Navona - you enter by one of a few small alley sized side streets to see a long space with incredible fountains. We walked into it while just wandering around, and it was transfixing.
Naturally, surprise can be a bad thing, but I'm going on about this because I think some of the good things about surprise have been lost to many travelers.