Introduction to Maps

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What is a map?

A map is a drawing that give us information about a place at a particular time. Maps are a representation of the real world drawn accurately on a flat surface but many times smaller that the place itself. Maps are one of the oldest forms of nonverbal communication. Every culture in every part of the world makes and uses maps.

All the information about one place cannot be put in a single map. Different aspects of a place can be shown in different types of maps.The art and science of making maps is called cartography. A person who makes maps is called a cartographer.

Why Use Maps?

People use or 'read' maps for different reasons. For example, we often use them when we are travelling to villages, towns or cities that we are not familiar with. News reporters use maps to tell us where things are happening in the world, pilots use them to navigate the skies and fishermen to navigate the seas.

To learn more about how to read maps click here.

In the following sections we will examine the colourful history of maps and how they developed over time.