Maps are nothing but a visual display or pictures of the surface of the earth. There are different kinds of maps in geography that are used by researchers, students, cartographers and anyone who wants to learn about the earth. They highlight boundaries, location of various cities and countries, water bodies, landforms; some maps highlight specific topics like rainfall distribution, climate etc. Every map is important for various individuals as they focus on displaying diverse information that is used to study and understand different locations.
Here is a brief look at some of the different kinds of maps in geography that are widely used around the world.
Physical Maps – This map showcases the physical features of different areas like the mountains, plateaus, rivers, lakes and area specific vegetation. The water bodies are highlighted in blue, while landscapes are shown with different colors. Green denotes lower vegetation while brown or orange focuses on elevation
Political Maps – These kinds of maps in geography do not focus on the physical or topographical features, it rather focuses on boundaries of an area. The boundaries highlight cities, states and countries. The capitals of different states are usually marked with a circle within political maps.
Climatic Maps – These kinds of maps in geography focus on the climate of specific areas. The information is based on the temperature, the average rainfall, the amount of snowfall that specific area receives, cloudy days etc. Climatic maps usually make use of different colors to denote a specific climatic difference within the area.
Economic Map – This map is also known as the resource map and it focuses on highlighting the economic activity and the type of natural resources of a certain area. The diversity is highlighted in these kinds of maps in geography with the use of different symbols, letters or colors to show the resources or economical activity in the region.
Topographic Map – These maps are pretty similar to the physical maps that showcase the different landscapes and physical features of a region. However the difference is they use contour lines instead of using colors to focus on the landscape. Contour lines that are close knit signify steep terrains and lines that are spaced far apart at regular intervals indicate a flat terrain in areas.
Road Map – This kind of map in geography is one of the most widely used maps by travelers and tourists. They showcase highways, major roads and pinpoint and lead to various important destinations like hotels, airports, tourist destinations, monuments, parks, forest, sanctuaries etc. Highways are usually marked in red and smaller roads are denoted by a lighter color.
Thematic Map – Thematic Maps focus on a certain theme or topic and are vastly different than the other maps as they don’t focus on roads, climate, boundaries, physical features etc. If any of these things are highlighted on a thematic map then it is just to mention background information and in reference to enhance the maps theme. Examples of things that can be highlighted on a thematic map are average rainfall distribution, population for a specific area etc.