When I was little, I had a huge whiteboard - I think it was maybe 3' x 4' - that I used to draw maps on. I've never been much of an artist, so it was all symbols. Sometimes, it was countries, with swaths of coastline, little blue squiggles for oceans, and starred cities, but I particularly liked drawing towns and cities. Maybe it was the level of detail: I drew individual houses, placed shops here and there, and formed the outline of streets with the spaces in between. The maps would stay up for days or even weeks before I erased them and started anew.
As I grew older and technology advanced, I started to dabble with map drawing programs. Sometimes, I'd use them for existing projects, but more often I liked to come up with a map concept, put it together, and then come up with a world / story to match. I used the map programs as I always had used maps: to begin.
Over time, I lost interest in map creation, and I've never really come back to it. It would be nice to have a formal map for one of my projects - especially since one of my fellow writers at Grimbold Books does beautiful illustrations - but I don't need it. I can arrange countries and lay out rivers and lakes in my head without the need for the visual reinforcement.
In fact, I'm not sure there's much visual about it at all. It's very possible that the way I think about positioning and geography is a kinesthetic, bodily system of organization. Sadly, this theory is reinforced by how much trouble I've have had with the maps in my wine studies. When there's a tangible description of the relation between geography and climate, I can keep track of how regions interrelate. But when it simply comes to dots on a map, all the visuals in the world don't help.