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This map of the city of Stavanger in Norway is for the use of English-speaking tourists. The key at the bottom of the map is in...Read More >>This map of the city of Stavanger in Norway is for the use of English-speaking tourists. The key at the bottom of the map is in English. The cartographers have left out information that would not be useful to a tourist, but have included landmarks, hotels and car parks. To help with navigation, the map is orientated to the north, there is a scale bar, and streets and major physical features are labelled. A numbered and lettered grid helps the user to locate points of interest. A map is a representation of space that allows us to see the relationship between places, objects or themes. The space shown on a map may be on the Earth’s surface, beneath its surface or oceans, in outer space—or entirely imaginary. Most maps are two-dimensional (folded sheets and atlases), but some are three-dimensional (globes and models) or digital (on satnavs or websites). We think of modern maps as being accurate, but in fact all maps contain inaccuracies and omissions, most of them deliberate. Map-makers, called cartographers, carefully choose what information to include and what to leave out of a map, depending on the map’s intended use and theme. In pictorial maps, often created for tourists, pictures of landmarks, neither accurate nor to scale, nevertheless allow the user to recognize them quickly—which is the intention of the map. 



Hiking map showing the Metacornet Monadnock Trail in New England, USA. The route is clearly marked in red, while interesting...Read More >>Hiking map showing the Metacornet Monadnock Trail in New England, USA. The route is clearly marked in red, while interesting features along the way are shown in green. A scale bar gives the walker a clear indication of distance, and therefore a rough idea of the time it will take to walk the trail.

Types of maps

Among the most commonly used maps are transport maps, which help the user to navigate. Transport maps include: road, bicycle, hiking and train or bus route maps, and nautical and aeronautical charts for navigation at sea or in the air respectively. Details helpful to the user, such as road types, tolls and petrol stations for a car driver, are included, while other, unnecessary details are left out. Many city maps, for use with a range of modes of transport, offer wide-ranging information about streets, building types and public transport. Plans of buildings, such as museums, allow the visitor to navigate a small area.

Some cartographers deliberately draw mistakes—such as “trap streets” that do not exist—to catch out people who copy their work. The famous London A–Z Street Atlas contains around 100 trap streets.

WHERE DO THE
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