Why are sitemaps maps? They are more like site lists. It probably goes back to that special page many sites have that serves to present a map of the entire site. The thing that clicks however about this page is that the list can organized using nested lists.
AFAIK sitemaps, despite being a XML based format, can not support neseted urls or urlset's. That I think is a fundamental disadvantage and something I am not very impressed about. Sure the major search engines support the current spec, but it has *serious limitations* in presenting the link/web page structure.
PS. Actually you can even use a text file with a bunch of links (one per line) and call that page a sitemap. Boring. How is the crawler to identify parent-child heuristics ?
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