What is a Map?

A map is a flat drawing of a place or part of the world. Most time, a map looks as if it were drawn from the view of someone sitting in an airplane. A map can also be defined as a diagrammatic representation of an area of land or sea showing physical features, cities, roads, etc.

Why do we use Maps?

  1. Maps help us find our bearings or direction from one place to another.
  2. Maps show us the location of things or places.
  3. Maps can be used to show the distance of one place to another.

What are some parts of a Map?

Most maps have FIVE basic components/parts:

  1. Title - the heading of a map.
  2. Compass Rose - the part of a map that shows the cardinal points or other directions.
  3. Legend or Key - a part of a map used to define symbols used on the map.
  4. Border - shows where the area of focus shown in the map ends.
  5. Scale - part of a map used to show how big something is in actual size.

An example of a map showing all 5 elements of a map is shown below:

Elements of a Map.gif

Map Legends or Keys:

Maps can be drawn to represent a variety of information. This information might include things such as roads, tourist attractions and campgrounds, or they might represent the latest weather patterns. The objects on a map are represented using symbols. A symbol is a picture on the map that represents something in the real world. Understanding these symbols requires the use of a key. Maps use a key, or legend, to explain the meaning of each of the symbols used in the map. These keys usually show a small picture of each of the symbols used on the map, along with a written description of the meaning of each of these symbols.
Some of these symbols are illustrated below:

Key 1.gif

Key 2.jpg

Online Resources:
For further reading on Map Reading and Map Work, please click HERE to follow the link.