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Types of Maps

Last updated date: 25th May 2024
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Introduction on Maps

The map is considered as a symbiotic relationship between elements such as objects,reins and also themes. Many maps are usually static and also fixed to paper  or some medium.Maps represent space that could be real or may be fictional. The space which is mapped could be two dimensional such as the surface of the earth andalso three dimensional.

What are Maps?

A symbolic representation with selected characteristics of the place, which are usually drawn on a flat surface, is known as a map. These maps represent all the information about this world in a very simple and lucid manner. Via these different maps, we get to know about the world by showing the sizes and shapes of different countries and continents. The map also marks the locations of features, and distances between these places.

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In our map study requirement, we come across different types of maps among which generally there are 2 basic maps: 

  • Topographic and General Maps – which summarizes the actual landscape. 

  • Other Maps, especially the Thematic Maps – that comment on specific feature types of a place. 

Description on 10 Different Types of Maps 

Maps are of varied types which attempt to show different classifications.  These maps are placed in two groups: 

  • Reference Maps

  • Thematic Maps.

Reference Maps: show the location of the geographic areas which the data has been tabulated. The maps also display the boundaries, names and also many geographic areas and also all the physical features. The physical features include roads, rail, coastlines, rivers, lakes and mountains.

Thematic Maps: A thematic map shows the spatial distribution of one or more specific data themes for selected geographic areas. The map may be qualitative (e.g., predominant farm types) or quantitative (e.g., percentage population change).

Now, We Will Study Some Commonly Used Maps Which Are as Follows:

  1. Political Boundary Maps 

Political Maps are those maps that show boundaries between the countries, states, and other political units. A commonly used political map in the US shows almost 50 states. 

  1. Election Result Maps 

They are considered some type of political map which shows election results by the geographic subdivision or by voting district. In the US, for the presidential election, the red-state/blue-state maps are in use. 

  1. Physical Maps 

This map shows the topographic land structure. There are different color gradient reliefs. Like for example, Dark greens are used for sea-level elevations, green grades to tan, and brown for elevation increase. While the highest elevation is the shades of gray. 

  1. Digital Road, Street, and Highway Maps 

Google Maps has special tools which enable the feature for us to search the “nearby” restaurants, hotels, bars and pubs, museums, bike shops, pizza hub, schools, etc. If Google Maps is allowed to use our current location then we can easily reach our destination following the google direction.  

  1. Topographic Map 

This type of map shows the earth’s topography by using brown-colored contour lines. Roads, place names, streams, and other features are shown on this map distinctively. 

  1. Time Zone Maps 

In this type of map, the world’s 24-hour time zones are displayed in different color bands. By following the numbers on the top and bottom of the map, we can determine the time interval between these two locations. 

  1. Geologic Map 

In the geological map, the road and the street colors are faintly displayed with color. These geological maps are important first tools to conduct an earthquake hazard. 

  1. Zip Code Maps 

Zip Code Maps show zip codes in various states. They are the maps that show the approximate boundary of the zip code areas that are used by the United States of Postal Service. They are plotted over a base map which shows the zip code coverage area.

  1. Weather Maps 

Weather Maps show higher temperatures that are being projected in a country. This map is prepared by the National Weather Service operating in all the nations. 

  1. Species Distribution Maps 

These maps show specific plants and animals which are to be found in that place. 

Other Types of Maps Which Further Help in Their Way Are as Follows:

  1. Income Maps

  1. Resource Maps

  1. Earthquake Maps

  1. Plate Tectonic Maps

  2. The Map is Drawn on a Clay Tablet

Types of Maps and Charts Available 

As the range of maps and charts which are now available in many of the countries is so extensive that if we make a complete listing of that, it will be impractical enough. The list would primarily include aeronautical (that is the worldwide and national), congressional or political districts, population distribution, geologic (with various scales), highways (that have national and secondary political units), historical, hydrographic (with coastal areas, inland waters, foreign waters), national forests, other forest types, public land survey plats, soil, and topographic (that are mainly national and foreign).

FAQs on Types of Maps

1. What is meant by map specification?

All of the maps we have discussed briefly have something in common. They all have a definite set of rules that determine how the maps are made and what they all indicate. This is known as Specification. The specification must also contain all such information about the assumptions made in the map, all limitations and its information sources should also be mentioned.  This representation of information is called 'metadata' which is an important aid to those who read and interpret the maps. Single and stand-alone maps (like the maps with tourist resorts) are very simple to study.  While maps can have other extremes as well, like for series maps, the specification is much likely to be very complex because it is important that all these maps in the series should have similar content, as well as maintain consistency.  

2. What are contour lines in a topographic map?

Contour lines are the connecting points that share the same elevation. The elevation is shared at those places where they are closely spaced together, but they never intersect with each other, this elevation is changing quite rapidly in shorter distances and the terrain is very steep. Contours are an outline, especially a curve or an irregular figure. The line represents the outline. This is the general form or structure of something which is the most elevated area.  Contour lines are mainly used to show the elevation on a topographic map. These lines or isolines on a map also connect these points with the same elevation. All the contour lines also show a different height of elevation.

3. What can one learn from maps?

Maps help us learn history, mainly preserving the records. These can also tell us things from maps. There are many maps that give a lot of information.

4. What is the purpose of the maps?

Maps present information about the world in a simple, visual way. They teach about the world by showing the sizes and shapes of counties and also the features and the distance between the places. Maps are very important as they show the exact distributions of things over earth like the settlement  and the patterns. Maps mainly serve two functions which are spatial databases and a communication device. Through map reading, the readers can develop the imagination of the real world. 

5. What are advantages and disadvantages of maps?

Major advantages of Maps are they are easier to use and easier to carry around. They can show the earth's entire surface or just a small part and can show even a small locality in a great detail. But at the same it has disadvantages also as all maps have distortions as it becomes  very impossible to represent a three dimensional object like the accuracy of earth on flat maps.