A map is an outline representation of a particular area which shows physical structures, roads etc. and usually represents on a flat surface showing geographical distributions. Map is abbreviated as a Man-Alien-Predator. They are important tools in identifying the exact location especially for geographers. If we look at the past history, maps were first made by Greeks in 6th century BC, and they were basically known of the stars & nature but not of the earth. In earlier days by observing the change in sun’s position people used to know the directions, and after that a method called cartography was followed for long time. However after 15th century, there was hand coloring of maps which eventually evolved to newer versions to project various landscapes in different color pigments to improve the readability and appearance. Earlier there was only paper maps & guides to navigate but today people are using satellite maps through internet for gathering information on various geographical areas.
Importance of maps
Today maps are easily available for users through world wide network and the entire world is represented on a smaller scale with every inch of information explained in detail. Maps of newer technology have changed human life & have become integral part of their daily activity. Now the usage of digital maps have become routine for everyone, helping the people to get around easily through many places in their daily life. There are many online mapping tools with the large collection of information in the form of maps which include useful services for tourism planning, finding landmarks, determining exact geographical positions etc. Now-a-days web based maps are gaining popularity over paper maps, because people are using cell phones & tabs to navigate from one place to another. Digital mapping mainly use GPS technology while determining the location and serving people with details like exact terrain data, address and even the latest traffic updates. Basically, the user will have the flexibility to choose the mapping view between virtual, satellite or combination of both.
Maps can be used for different purposes and below mentioned are some of the most common types of maps used by the people –
- Topographical maps
Topographical maps are same as physical maps that shows graphical representation of features like roads, railways, names of places, buildings etc. The difference in landscapes are represented in the form of contour lines which means the exact location can be identified with the help of space intervals between the contour lines. Apart from normal view, they also show features like land elevations, steep areas etc, because of which they find wide usage in surveying, military, urban planning etc.
- Contour maps
It is the part of the topographical map, that detects the railway or canal routes in addition to the land locations. It also finds the rivers or canals where there is water flow. With the help of contour maps one can easily calculate the capacity of a reservoir, elevation of the forests from the natural ground level and also the depth of other landscapes.
- General purpose maps
Maps which exhibit about physical land features & political boundaries are called as general purpose maps. These maps help people not only in identifying the physical area but also find routes that are distributed across different locations for navigation purpose.
- Physical & political maps
Physical map tells about nature, mountains, rivers etc whereas political map shows how people got divided on the earth surface like countries, states, capitals etc.
- Crisis maps
Crisis maps tell us about weather, water risks and other emergencies like earth quakes,storms etc. These maps gather information in real time so that human lives can be saved from crisis or disasters by intimating them ahead of time.
- Geographic information system in maps
This is a new technology system called as Power of mapping. GIS provides significant amount of information which is geographic & is used for storing, capturing & displaying data related to earth’s surface position as it enables people to understand quickly. It is a collection of data which describes about objects that are related to space as it is done by using latitudes & longitudes. GIS shows different kinds of data at a time and displays various information on road network, satellite network etc in a single map. GIS has many flexible interactive features that allows users to query the data & capture the spatial information relative to the earth, so that the exact location can be recorded based on the latitude, longitude and elevation. GIS find wide application usage in weather forecasting, telecommunications, surveying, land planning etc.