Maps is generally to study only a part of the earth, as about our country, states, districts, town and villages we use map. A map is a representation or a drawing of the earth surface.
It may contain as many facts as a big book. When many maps are put together, we get an Atlas. Atlases are of various sizes, measurements drawn on different scales.
There are showing natural features of the earth such as mountains, Plateaus, Plains, Rivers, Oceans etc. are called physical or relief maps.
It is showing cities, towns and villages and different countries and states of the world with their boundaries are called political maps.
Some maps focus on specific information: such as, road, rainfall, maps showing distribution of forests, industries etc. are known as thematic maps.
There are three components of maps are distance, direction and symbol.
Maps are drawing, which reduce the entire world or a part of it to fit on a sheet of paper. A small distance on paper represents a large distance on the ground. Therefore, a scale is chosen for this purpose. Maps are drawn to reduced scales. But this reduction is done very carefully so that the distance between the places is real.
When large areas like continents or countries are to be shown on a paper, than we use a small scale. For example 5cm. on the map 500km of the ground. It is called a small scale map.
When a small area like village or town is to be shown on a paper, than we use a large scale that is 5 cm on the map shows 500 meters only on the ground. It is called a large scale map.
Most maps contain an arrow marked with the letter ‘N’ at the upper right hand corner. This arrow shows the north direction. It is called the north line.
There are four major directions North, South, East and West. They are called cardinal points. Other four intermediate directions are north-east (NE), South-East (SE), South – West (SW), and North – West (NW).
It is not possible to draw on a map the actual shape and size of different features such as buildings, roads, bridges, trees, railway lines or a well. So, they are shown by using certain letters, shades, colors, pictures and lines. They have a universal language that can be understood by all. There is an international agreement regarding the use of these symbols. These are called conventional symbols. Various colors are used for same purpose. Like: blue is used for water bodies, brown for mountain, yellow for plateau and green is used for plains.
A sketch is a drawing mainly based on memory and spot observation and not to scale. Sometimes a rough drawing is required of an area to tell where a particular place is located.
A plan is a drawing of a small area on a large scale, Like: The length and the breadth of a room, which can’t be shown in a map. At that time we can refer drawings drawn to scale called a plan.
Read also: Major domains of the earth.