"I could TELL you where you are, Lou, but sometimes verbal or written descriptions of location can be very complicated!"

"You mean, complicated like: Meet me under the 4th street light from the Optimo Cigar Store as you go downtown towards Joe's Upscale Hair Salon! !"

"You got it! Or if they're not complicated, often they're vague!"

"Like: Meet me in Central Park - and be on time!!"

"Yeah! But such complications can be avoided! Instead of telling you where to meet, I could show you by giving you...


"You mean, a diagram with symbols or pictures designed to show where on Earth things are?!"

"That's it!! Some of the things maps show are...."

Features of the landscape: hills, valleys, lakes, rivers, shorelines...This is a Topographic Map, using contours. We'll be learning a lot about these!
Geographic boundaries: borders of countries, states, counties, cities...This is a Political Map.
Objects made by people: railroads, houses, bridges, docks, quarries...This is a Subway Map.
Social, political or economic features: population density, average income, crime rates...This map shows areas within commuting distance of cities.
Degrees of hazard: from floods, earthquakes, landslides, tidal waves...This Hazard Map shows areas that would be flooded if sea level rose 400 feet.
Types and ages of rocks that underlie the surface of the ground...This is a Geologic Map. We'll be learning a lot about these!

"Enough, Lulu! Let's get down to brass tacks! What do I need to know in order to use a map to locate something?!"

"The first thing to learn is how to measure distance on a map!! Go to Maps Home Page and click on 'Distance'!"

© 2010
David J. Leveson/Revised by G. Rocha and Michelle O'Dea