Types of Maps

The representation is drawn to a specific scale and map projection and shows distinctive aspects of the surface such as relief features, routes, settlements, etc.

Map may be classified with respect to:

  1. Scale
  2. Purpose of content
Image by macrovector on Freepik

Types of Maps Based on Scale

Large scale maps are drawn to show small areas and on the other hand, small scale maps are drawn to show large areas.

1. Large-scale maps

Large-scale maps are further divided into two types:

I) Cadastral map
  • The term ‘Cadastral’ is divided from the french word ‘Cadastre’ meaning register of territorial property.
  • These maps are drawn to register the demarcating boundaries of agricultural land and the plan of individual houses in urban areas.
  • They are prepared specially by the government to realize revenue and tax.
  • Scale: 1:4000 villages and 1:2000 city plans.
  • They are specially done by the government to realize revenue and tax.
II) Topographical maps
  • They show general surface features in detail comparing both the natural landscape and cultural landscape.
  • These maps show topographical detail such as relief, drainage, agricultural land, forest, settlements, means of communication, school, post, and other services.
  • In India, 1:50,000 scale maps are generally prepared.
  • Topographical map produced by NATMO.

2. Small Scale Maps

Small scale maps are further divided into two types:

I) wall maps
  • These maps are generally drawn in large sizes.
  • In these maps, the world as a whole or in the hemisphere is distinctly represented.
  • These maps also are prepared for a continent, a country, large scale or small scale according to to need.
  • Their scale is smaller than that of topographical maps but larger than atlas maps.
II) Atlas/chorographical maps
  • Atlas maps are very small-scale maps.
  • These maps show only important peaks, important rivers, cheif towns, railway lines, etc.
  • These maps represent fairly large areas and present a highly generalized picture of physical or cultural features.
  • Scale – 1:1,000,000

Types of Maps Based on Functions

Maps based on their functions may be classified into physical maps and cultural maps.

1. Physical Maps

Physical maps show natural features such as relief, geology, soils, drainage, elements of weather, climate and vegetation, etc.

i) relief maps

Relief maps show the general topography of an area like mountains and valleys, plains, plateaus, and drainage.

ii) geological maps

These maps are drawn to show geological structures, rock types, etc.

iii) climatic maps

These maps depict climatic regions of area maps are also drawn to show the distribution of temperature, rainfall, cloudiness, relative humidity, direction and velocity of winds, and other elements of weather.

iv) soil maps

Maps are also drawn to show the distribution of different types of soils and their properties.

v) astronomical maps

These maps show heavenly bodies or heavenly features.

2. Cultural Maps

Cultural maps show man-made features. Population, social, economic, and political features showing:

i) political maps

This map shows the administrative divisions of an area such as country, state, or district. These maps facilitate the administrative machinery in the planning and management of the concerned administrative unit.

ii) population maps

The population maps are drawn to show the distribution, density, and growth of population, age, sex composition, religious, social, and linguistic. Population maps serve the most important planning and development of an area.

iii) economic maps

Economic maps depict the production and distribution of different types of crops and minerals, the location of industries and markets, the router for trade, and the flow of commodities.

iv) historical maps

Maps showing historical events are called historical maps.

v) social maps

Social organisms and races their languages, religions, etc. are depicted on social maps.

Importance and Uses of Maps

  • Maps are tools of ‘Geographers’, but it also guides the traveler and tourist to their destination.
  • The maps are also important in the field of navy and airways. Toposheet are useful for military operations.
  • Maps are a great source of information. It displays natural and man-made features.
  • The map provides detailed information on landforms and other ground features without sensing of area.
  • Recently it is used for advertisement. They are drawn especially for showing the location of industries, production, centers, etc.
  • Maps are used for measurement to determine elastance, direction, and area.
  • Businessmen, industrialists, and managers of factories and workshops also need maps and charts.
  • Maps are useful for the planning and conservation of natural resources.

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