Everything about Maps

World Map

What is a map?

A map is a drawing of the whole area of the earth or a part of it on a flat surface. A map is a visual or symbolic representation of a whole or partial area, typically factored on a flat surface. The work of a map is to demonstrate specific and detailed peculiarities of a particular area, most frequently used to represent geography.

Elements of mapping

There are five elements that you should see on any map and be able to identify. They are title, legend, grid, Compass Ross, and scale.

1 Title- It tells what the map is about. The title is important because it provides a description of the subject matter of the map. 

2 A Legend or a key – It explains the signs, colors, and symbols used in the map. It is like a decoder for the symbology in the data frame. Without it, the color scheme or symbols used on the map will make no sense.

3 Scale – No map can be drawn without a particular scale. The scale is usually mentioned in one corner. It defines the real distance between two places on the surface of the earth. It helps to understand the actual size and distance between represented objects. Scale may be represented by words (e.g., “one inch equals one mile”), a ratio or fraction (e.g., 1:63,360).

4 Compass Rose– Next, maps usually include a compass rose. A compass rose is a cross-like figure that shows direction. Compass roses display the four cardinal directions – north, east, south, and west – as well as the ordinal directions: northeast, southeast, northwest, southwest.

5 Grid– The grid, which is the set of lines showing co-ordinates on the map. Grid are made up of longitude and latitude lines to precisely locate specific locations on the maps

Types of Maps-

Maps are of many sizes, shapes or types like political map, physical map, weather map, rainfall map, forest map, road map, mineral map, wildlife map, route map, industry map, etc.

World map – on which the whole surface of the Earth is drawn. It shows water bodies- Oceans and landmasses- continents.

Political maps – are the map that shows the political boundaries of each country or state along with their capitals and other important cities.

Physical maps illustrate the physical features of an area such as the mountains, rivers, and lakes. Bodies of water are commonly shown in blue. Mountains and elevation changes are sometimes shown with different colors and shades to show elevation. On physical maps, greens usually indicate lower elevations while browns usually indicate higher elevations.

Topographic Maps –  A topographic map is similar to a physical map. It also shows different physical landscape features.These maps graphically represents natural and man-made features of parts of the Earth’s surface plotted to scale. They show the shape of land and record elevations above sea level, lakes, streams and other hydrographic features, and roads and other works of man.Unlike physical maps, thes type of maps use contour lines instead of colors to show changes in the landscape.

Weather maps – give general information about the climate, rain, hail, snow of a region. Different colors are used to show different climate zones. 

Forest maps – are the types of maps that give information regarding the vegetation. Makers use different colors to represent the different types of forest covers it may even provide information regarding the different food crop cash crops etc.

Industry maps- show the distribution of different industries like Metal Industries agricultural Industries chemical Industries forest-based industries etc.

Wildlife maps – are the maps that show sanctuaries and national parks.

Route maps- Route map is a map that shows the various means of transportation and important places of interest in an area. Route maps show major and minor Highways roads airports rail tracks major cities etc.

Road Maps- are one of the most widely used map types. These maps show major and minor highways and roads (depending on the degree of detail), as well as things like airports, cities, and points of interest such as parks, campgrounds, and monuments. Major highways on a roadmap are generally shown with thick, red lines, while minor roads are lighter in color and drawn with narrower lines.

Thematic Maps –  A thematic map is a map that focuses on a particular theme or special topic

Uses of Map –

Maps are loaded with information. It is up to an individual how he makes use of it. Maps are generally used for:

Navigation, Analysis, Communication, Exploration, Hypothesis Stimulation, Planning, controlling , Map reading, etc

Advantages of using maps –

  • They are mostly easy to carry. They are portable as compared to Globes for study purposes. 
  • They show selected features in detail.
  • They use different signs, symbols, and colors to provide distinct information.

Disadvantages of using maps –

  • The curved surface of the earth cannot be represented accurately on flat surface .
  • Maps of large areas especially continents have some distortion of size, shape or distance.

What is an Atlas?

A collection of different types of maps bound together in the form of a book is called an atlas.

T In short, they provide a complete inventory of the terrain and important information for all activities involving the use and development of the land. They provide the bases for specialized maps and data for compilation of generalized maps of a smaller scale. 

What is Cartography?

Cartography is the art and science of making maps and charts.

Unique facts about maps-

  • History reveals Maps have been put in use since time immemorial.
  • During medieval times in Europe most maps of the world, called mappae mundi, were used by royals and nobles as displays of their wealth rather than as tools for navigation.
  • The oldest globe on record dates back to around 1,500 and is carved on the surface of an ostrich egg
  • In the French caves of Lascaux, there’s a map of stars that’s believed to be 16,500 years old.
  • Modern mapmakers often incorporate fake towns into their maps, known as “paper towns,” “phantom settlements,” or (for some reason) “bunnies.”

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