A map is a printed representation of the Earth. The study of creating maps is called cartography and a person who creates maps is called a cartographer. A map shows how different places are related to each other geographically. There are different types of maps. Each of these maps provides different types of information. They also have different uses. Although there are different types of maps, most of them share some similar characteristics. Almost all maps have a compass rose that points the way to north, south, east and west.
Here are the different types of maps and their purposes:
- Topographic maps. Topographic maps have the images of elevated areas drawn with contour lines. The lines for this map indicate the steepness of a terrain. Areas with lines that are close together indicate that the terrain is steep. Lines in areas that are drawn wider apart indicate that the terrain is flat. This may be one of the maps that are hard to read. This type of map is most commonly used by geologists and engineers.
- World atlas. An atlas is a collection of different maps bound in a book. Some of the items that can be seen in an atlas are countries, continents, regions or world maps. This type of map is usually used for general purpose only as there is only limited information that can be found in the atlas. You can find interactive world atlas maps on the Internet for home or school use.
- Road maps. Road maps are what most tourists or travelers use to navigate where they are going. Road maps contain the different modes of transportation in a certain area. Other information that can be found on this type of map are the historic places, tourist spots, malls, churches, restaurants and other important information for tourists.
- Resource or economic maps. This type of map is used by economists. It shows the different locations and the local resources that can be found there. Legends are used to indicate which resources can be found in certain areas. This map can also be used in school to get more information about certain places.
- Climate maps. A climate map gives general data about the climate of different places or regions. This map may be difficult to read if you do not know how to use it. You will see different colors on this type of map. The colors stand for the temperature for each area.
- Geographical maps. This type of map provides information such as the climate of a region, the population, vegetation and other important information. Urban areas are also shown on this type of map.
These are some of the most common types of maps and their major uses. They may be used in the workplace, in school or while traveling and touring. Maps also have estimates of distances from place to place and bodies of water that can be found in the region. There are also three-dimensional maps that show different layers of a region.