Why use Maps?

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Have you ever used a map? If you did you will know that maps contain lots of useful information. Map reading and map drawing are important skills to learn in geography.

Maps use symbols like lines and different colours to show features such as rivers, roads, cities or mountains. Young geographers need to be able to understand symbols. All these symbols help us to visualise what things on the ground actually look like.

Maps also help us to know distances so that we know how far away one thing is from another. We need to be able to estimate distances on maps because all maps show the earth or regions within it as a much smaller size than their real size. To do this we need to be able to read the scale on a map.

In this unit we are going to find out about maps and how to read them. You will also learn how to draw some maps.

Maps and planning

We use maps for many different reasons but in most cases to help us plan a particular activity. The following are some examples of situations where maps are extremely useful.

  • If you are going hill walking or cycling you need to know how steep the ground is and so how long it will take you to cover it. Click here for some good advice about using maps to plan outdoor activities.

  • For long road journeys you need a very different type of map to help you find the best route and to calculate approximately your journey time. The map image below shows a touring road map of Ireland .

.........................................................................Map of Ireland

  • Planning to build a home would also require a very detailed map of the location to find out about facilites and amenities in that area.

  • You might not necessarily want to find the fastest route from a to b, you might want to take the scenic route. Knowing how to spot mountains, lakes, coastline and historic sites on a map helps you to plan this type of trip.


Why use maps? Fill in the Bubble Diagram

Why use maps? Fill in the Bubble Diagram