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What's a map

A map is the graphic illustration of a territory on a two-dimensional floor. It's also outlined as a schematic drawing or format that represents the traits of a sure territory, corresponding to its dimensions, coordinates, geographical options or different related facets.

Maps can signify territories of various dimensions, to allow them to be native, regional, continental or international. The latter are referred to as planispheres or world maps , since they're a graphic illustration of the world.


world map or planisphere

The primary operate of the maps is to offer synthesized data on location factors and orientation coordinates, in addition to on accessible routes, traits of the earth's floor (reliefs, river networks, assets, and many others.), regional local weather, political-territorial boundaries. , factors of curiosity, inhabitants distribution, and many others.

The strategy of amassing, recording, and projecting data to attract maps is named cartography , and the individuals who carry out it are referred to as cartographers . The method of constructing a map is named the cartographic course of and consists of the next levels: amassing and generalizing the information, giving the map a visible type and decoding the data.

Map Options

  • They're a visible communication medium for conveying spatial data.
  • They describe spatial relationships via graphic and symbolic conventions for his or her understanding, which represent their very own language.
  • They've metric properties: they should be drawn from the document of measurements to scale.
  • They're selective or particular: they signify solely facets essential to their function.
  • They're drawn on a two-dimensional floor, though this may be utilized to spheres, cubes or polyhedrons.
  • As a result of they're a illustration of actuality, they all the time specific a sure stage of distortion.

Elements of a map

As a visible communication doc, a map should adjust to sure conventions or components. Particularly:

  • Title: indicator of the topic or facet lined on the map.
  • Location, place and orientation: the complete system of place references essential to find oneself. For instance, the cardinal factors and geographic coordinates.
  • Scale: measure of the connection that exists between the represented territory and its illustration.
  • Legends: written data supplied for the interpretation of the map.
  • Cartographic symbols: photographs on the map that synthesize data in a graphic and environment friendly approach. These differ based on the kind of map and the kind of public it's aimed toward.
  • Cartographic projections: it's the visible projection or format of the map on the aircraft.

Map Sorts

There are various kinds of maps based on their operate or function. Amongst them, we will point out the next:

Geographic or bodily maps


Geographic map of Mexico (topographic and barymetric)

They're maps whose principal goal is to signify completely different facets of geography, corresponding to rivers, seas, mountains, deserts, local weather, rainfall, amongst others.

Subsequently, geographic or bodily maps don't signify political borders, or they solely seem referentially to facilitate the situation of the geographical facets highlighted on the map. Nor do they signify human exercise.

Among the many geographical maps we will discover the next:

  • Hydrographic maps: describe the sources of floor water corresponding to rivers, lakes, seas and oceans, amongst others.
  • Bathymetric maps: represents land options under water surfaces.
  • Topographic maps: describe the options of the earth's floor.
  • Geological maps: signify the geological formations, together with seismic faults.
  • Soil maps: describe the organic, bodily and chemical traits of the soil.
  • Local weather maps: signify the habits of the local weather.
  • Pluviometric maps: they give attention to representing the rainfall of the areas.

political maps


political map of america

Political maps are those who cope with representing the borders between nations and politically delimited areas. This kind of map supplies data on the boundaries between nations and administrative zones.

Thematic maps

Thematic maps are these whose design is devoted to the communication of specific ideas or traits. These often describe details about human exercise within the territory. Subsequently, this data can coexist with roughly detailed geographical representations, relying on the case.

Thematic maps could be of two varieties:

  • qualitative: they present the spatial distribution of sure information with out offering numerical data.
  • quantitative: they relate the area with the numerical information on the facets to be mirrored.

Some examples of thematic maps are:

  • Demographic maps: specific the inhabitants density of a territory.
  • Financial maps: signify the kind of financial actions in a area.
  • Historic maps: describe the trail of historical civilizations on the map.
  • Linguistic maps: present the distribution of languages ​​within the territory.
  • Vacationer maps: they point out the factors of curiosity for vacationers in a sure area.
  • City maps: describe the format of town.

Origin of the maps

The oldest recognized maps come from Babylon, and had been made on tablets about 5,000 years in the past.

In Historical Greece, vacationers additionally made maps based mostly on the routes they explored. It's stated that Thales of Miletus made the primary world map.

The thinker Aristotle, for his half, was the primary to measure the angle of inclination of the earth with respect to the equator.