Chapter – 4 Maps

Globe v/s Maps

  • A globe can be useful when we want to study the earth as a whole.

  • & The advantage of the globe is that it promotes visual accuracy.

  • But, when we want to study only a part of the earth, as about our country, states, districts, towns and villages, it is of little help.

  • In such a situation we use maps.

What is a Map?

  • A map is a visual representation of an entire area or a part of an area, typically represented on a flat surface.

  • Maps attempt to represent various things, like political boundaries, physical features, roads, topography, population, climates, natural resources and economic activities.

  • But remember it is impossible to flatten a round shape completely.

What is an Atlas?

  • We find that maps are useful to us for various purposes.

  • Some maps show a small area and a few facts and some contain as many facts as a big book.

  • An atlas is a collection of maps; it is typically a bundle of maps of Earth or a region of Earth.

  • Atlases have traditionally been bound into a book form, but today many atlases are in multimedia formats.

  • Atlases give more information than globe.

Different types of Maps







What is a Physical Map?

  • Maps showing natural features of the earth such as mountains, plateaus, plains, rivers, oceans etc. Are called physical or relief maps.

  • The purpose of the physical map is to show features of geography such as mountains, soil type or land use etc…

  • An example of a physical map is an aerial view of a country showing the forests in green, the mountains in gray, the streams in blue and the oceans in deep blue.

What is a Political Map?

  • A political map is a map that shows the political boundaries of particular areas.

  • Political maps are designed to show governmental boundaries of countries, states, the location of major cities, and they usually include significant bodies of water.

  • An example of a political map is one that shows the borders of India and the location of the state capitals.

What is a Thematic Map?

  • A thematic map is a map that focuses on a specific theme or subject area.

  • These maps focus on specific information; such as road maps, rainfall maps, maps showing distribution of forests, industries or any particular report etc.

  • We can take an example of a thematic map of countries affected by Covid-19

Components of Maps

  • Distance

  • Direction

  • Symbol

Distance & Scale

  • we can say maps are drawn to reduce scales. But this is done very carefully so that the distance between the places is real.

  • Scale is the ratio between the actual distance on the ground and the distance shown on the map.

  • We use small scale map to measure large areas like continents and countries and large scale map to measure small areas like villages or towns.

Directions in Map

  • Maps contain a letter on the top right corner ‘N’ with an arrow upwards.

  • This arrow shows the north direction. It is called the north line.

  • Once you get to North, you can find out other directions easily.

  • There are four major directions, North, South, East and West.

  • They are called cardinal points(E,W,N,S).

Find a Direction with Compass

  • A compass is an instrument used for navigation and orientation that shows direction relative to the geographic cardinal directions.

  • It’s a magnetic needle that always points towards north-south direction.

Symbols of Map

  • Symbol is the third important component of a map. Symbols give a lot of information in a limited space.

  • With the use of these symbols, maps can be drawn easily and are simple to read.

  • Maps 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.

A sketch Map & A Plan


A rough drawing drawn without any scale is called a sketch map.
A sketch is a drawing mainly based on memory.


Plans are detailed and refer to the final draft someone has on something (may also be a drawing). A plan is a drawing of a small area on a large scale.

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