What are the symbols on a map?


There are different types of maps that are meant for different purposes.
A map shows relationships between elements of the space such as objects, religions, and themes.
Map symbols are characters, letters, drawings and shortened words representation used on a map to indicate an object or feature in the real world.
Map symbols are used to make the reading of maps easy and save space. A map always has a key of a list to interpret all the symbols used. Therefore, you don’t need to memorize the symbols often used in maps as there interpretation will be provided in the key. However, it will be easy if you are familiar with some of the symbols. If you are drawing your map, you can use your symbols, but remember you will have to put the key to explain the symbols.
There are many issues involved in the symbolization process. Some people may interpret objects differently from the others. Cartographers, however, is up to the task and try as much as possible not to use such symbols since they would lead to confusion by the map readers and learners. It is important to note that different symbols represent different features.

So what are some of the map symbols?
Some of the commonly used symbols in a map are explained below. However, there are numerous other symbols. Learning them would help you get familiarized and add to what you already know concerning maps.

Contour lines
Contour lines are some of the popular map symbols. They join places of similar elevation. They are accurate, self-explanatory and naturally represent their phenomena. They can indicate height, depth, and steepness of an area. The closer the lines, the steeper the area.

Shaded Area or Polygon
Shaded area or polygon is another symbol commonly used in maps. It represents a neighborhood or a cluster of houses. Individual houses may be shown by a small dot or a square. A cross may symbolize a landmark like a church, and a town hall may be given a particular color or symbol.

Colors are used on a map to represent different features. For example, water bodies are represented by a blue color; boundaries are always marked in black color, contours in brown while roads and grids in red. Boundary lines are usually broken or dotted to differentiate from roads or streams. The red color also indicates areas of importance. Forests, vegetation, national parks and wildlife management are commonly shaded green.

Comprehending maps, keys and the symbols associated with them will always play a major role in your education, even with technological advances. For both educational and safety purposes, you need to know your area, neighborhood, and landmarks. Not to mention the fact that learning how to give directions and map reading is an important part of basic literacy skills for everyone.It is important to learn the symbols and how to interpret them.The map can be worthless if you have no idea about the symbols. But, it is not yet too late for you to learn the very basic symbols and methods used in reading maps. In fact, a little information could help you a lot whenever the situations call for it.


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