What Are Political Maps And Physical Maps

Learning read a map can give you interesting information about geography.

Cartography, or the art of making maps, can be traced as far back as about 2300 B.C. Cartographers make maps to convey geographic information in a manner that’s easily understood. Political and physical maps are two kinds of maps that give the reader different kinds specific and important of information about the world.

Political Maps

Political maps give you clear, visual insight on all of the current political divisions and subdivisions of the current world. A world political map shows all the world’s major countries and their capitals. Knowledge about political divisions, which can be gathered from political maps, helps to give you a better understanding of the world and/or continents.

Political Map Characteristics

Political maps, world political maps in particular, have detailed representation of the seven oceans and the seven continents marked with latitude and longitude coordinates. Complex aerial routes around the world are also present in order to easily understand global air transportation. The distance key is also present so you can measure the actual distance between items on the map. World political maps of the individual continents show political boundaries and, depending on the continent, the names and capitals of countries, boundaries of states or neighboring countries.

Physical Maps

Physical maps are mostly used to depict the physical, identifiable and significant features of the earth’s surface, such as various landforms like plains, mountains and deserts, and bodies of water like rivers, lakes and oceans. Like political maps, lines of longitude and latitude and country borders and major cities can be depicted, but not necessarily.

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Physical Map Characteristics

Different colors, lines, tints, shading and spot elevations are used in physical maps so you can easily differentiate between formations and elevations of the earth’s surface. An elevation key on the map tells you, for example, that a green area is land that is at sea level and an area in orange has an elevation of above 10,000 feet. The color blue helps you to identify large bodies of water. Physical maps also have a distance key.