All About Maps

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 16 December 2016

All About Maps

What are maps?

Maps are the world reduced to points, lines, and areas, using a variety of visual resources: size, shape, value, texture or pattern, colour, orientation, and shape. A thin line may mean something different from a thick one, and similarly, red lines from blue ones.

How do maps represent reality?

A photograph shows all objects in its view; a map is an abstraction of reality. The cartographer selects only the information that is essential to fulfil the purpose of the map, and that is suitable for its scale. Maps use symbols such as points, lines, area patterns and colours to convey information.

Why are maps important?

A map gives a miniature “picture” of a very large space. A map is a guide to a space you have not encountered before. Maps have distance, mountains, rivers, and shapes of places or destinations. With a map, one does not have to depend on local directions. For a small price, it is a direction finder and a dependable way to take a journey.

What are atlases?

An atlas is a collection of maps in book form. Atlases are made for different regions and areas, and are prepared for desk use or travel use. A travel atlas is usually packaged for easy use during a trip, often with spiral bindings so it can be folded flat, and with maps at a large zoom so that they can be easily consulted on the go. A desk atlas features sizes and bindings that are typical for reference books: usually a paperback or hardcover format.

Lines of latitude

These are imaginary lines that circle the world in an east-west direction. They tell you how far north or south a place is from the Equator. They are drawn parallel to the Equator. There are five main lines of latitude. They are the Equator, the Tropic of Cancer, the Tropic of Capricorn, the Arctic Circle and the Antarctic Circle.

Lines of longitude

Longitude is the angular distance, measured in degrees, east and west of the Prime Meridian, which is at 0o. These are imaginary lines that run across the Earth’s surface in a north-south direction, from the North Pole to the South Pole.

Legends and symbols

Since a map is a reduced representation of the real world, map symbols are used to represent real objects. Without symbols, we wouldn’t have maps. Both shapes and colours can be used for symbols on maps. A small circle may mean a point of interest, with a brown circle meaning recreation, red circle meaning services, and green circle meaning rest stop. Colours may cover larger areas of a map, such as green representing forested land and blue representing waterways. To ensure that a person can correctly read a map, a Map Le


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