Geologists use a wide variety of maps to understand the different factors about different places of the Earth. They use different types of maps based on the various elements by which locations are classified into their physical or other features.
All maps are divided into two categories:
i)Reference Maps and
It is a kind of map that displays the location, boundaries, names and unique features of the geographic areas as well as significant physical or cultural features like roads, rivers, etc. of those areas for which the census data has been collected, calculated and recorded.
It is a kind of map that uses the base data focussing on a specific subject or theme. This map is reverse to the reference maps. These maps use boundaries, places, coastlines, etc. as data. They show the spatial variation of one or more geographic distributions and physical phenomena like climate, population, health data, etc.
There are various kinds of maps that fall under these two kinds of maps:
A Political map is a type of thematic map which are designed to differentiate between the boundaries of countries, states, continents, cities as well as their river bodies, which are administered by the government entities. It does not show any of the topographic features like mountains, etc. In some cases, a coastline even serves as a political border. And the lines differentiating them are bold and made in bright colours.
A Physical map is a type of thematic maps which shows all the physical divisions of a country or a place. These help to understand all kinds of topographic features such as mountains, hills, deserts, forests, rivers, plains, plateaus, seashores, etc. These are high-quality, informative maps that help to locate the physiographic regions of any country or place quickly. It shows the landscape features of a country or a site.
A Road map is a type of thematic map which is the most widely used map. They show the highways, roads, airports, cities, etc. of any place. Major highways are generally drawn with a thick, red line whereas small streets are drawn with a lighter colour and narrow paths.
A topographic map is a prototype of a thematic map which shows the shape and character of the Earth’s surface. It is a large-scale map which details the quantitative representation of relief using the contour lines to represent it. It shows both the natural as well as artificial features. These maps reveal the ground relief features like landforms, terrain, drainage, lakes, rivers, forests, railways, etc.
A Climatic map is a kind of reference map which shows the geographic distribution of average climatic values calculated over one month or one year. It includes benefits such as temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, insolation, cloud cover, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure, sunshine, etc.
A Resource map is a kind of reference map which uses the concept of the “ORE Model”, showing the specific types of economic activity or natural resource of an area. It uses different kinds of symbols or colours to depict these features. It gives a better insight into the location and distribution of the resources.
A Weather map is a type of reference map which displays various meteorological features of a particular area or a point. These are used for the weather forecasting purposes. These give details about the temperature gradients, wind speeds, pressure charts, surface weather analysis, etc.