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Maps show how things are related to each other by distance (both horizontal and vertical), direction, and size.

It shows...

Location - where things are - is the most fundamental geographic concept. The first task in geography is to locate places. Maps are the tools needed to accomplish this task. 

Place - physical and human characteristics - is another key concept in geography. All places on Earth have distinctive characteristics that give them meaning and character, and that help distinguish them from other places. 

Relationships - interrelatedness - is a key factor in discovering the connections between different phenomena.


Maps have many uses.

They are important in... 

  • the appraisal, conservation, and development of natural resources
  • analyzing and forecasting weather conditions
  • regional planning; and in property surveys
  • the demarcation of boundaries 

Maps record observations, aid in analysis, stimulate ideas and aid in the formulation of working hypotheses.

Maps help in navigation by sea, air, and land in times of peace and especially in times of war. Maps are also important to scientists concerned with the causes and effects of Earth surface phenomena, archaeology, agronomy, economics and the social sciences. 

This two dimensional representation can be carried and transported easily.

Mapping may refer to...

Carthography - Mapmaking

Surveying - accurately determining the position of points in 3-D space

Photogrammetry - inferring 3-D information from stereo photographs

A function - a mapping or map in mathematics, synonymous with a function

Metaphor - cross mapping across two or more seemingly unrelated subjects

Gene mapping - the assignment of DNA fragments to chromosomes

Data mapping - data element mappings between two distinct data models

Cultural Mapping encourages the generation of new material, such as different interpretations and viewpoints. It demonstrates connections between complex relationships, defines the central idea, contradictions, paradoxes, and gaps in material, and in this way provides a foundation for questioning

It is a powerful tool to encourage discovery and creativity.