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Types of Maps

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Types of Maps - Lesson Summary

A map is a representation or a drawing of the earth’s surface, or a part of it, drawn or printed on a flat surface, according to a scale. A map helps you to identify the places and locations within an area helping one to navigate from one place to another.

Difference between globe and map:
  • A globe is a three-dimensional sphere while, a map is two-dimensional.
  • A globe represents the whole earth, whereas a map may represent the whole earth or just a part of it.
  • A globe can be used to get a broad-level picture of the world while, map provides more specific information about different places.
  • A globe, being spherical in shape, spins around an axis. However, a map, being a representation on a piece of paper, does not spin.
  • A globe is made of hard material and cannot be folded making it difficult to be carried around, unlike maps, which are made on paper and can be easily folded and carried around.
  • Maps can be referred to for navigating from one place to another while globes don’t provide enough specific details to help you in navigation.
A compilation of many maps is called an atlas.

Maps are categorized into three broad types:
  • Physical maps
  • Political maps
  • Thematic maps

Physical maps show natural features of the earth, such as mountains, plateaus, plans, rivers and oceans. Physical maps are also called relief maps. Maps used for sea and air navigation are called charts.

Political maps show different countries and states of the world, and the villages, towns and cities within their boundaries. 

Thematic maps are maps that focus on a theme and provide specific information pertaining to that theme.


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