Are You Map Savvy?

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Modern Maps
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Part 1: Kinds of Maps

If you don't know how to read maps, you won't get very far.

Maps are wonderful tools that helps us orient ourselves on a street, in a city, in a country, on the planet, etc. If you have a current map, you can always find where you are, if you know how.

The most basic kind of map is a two-dimensional map, or a flat map. You can probably think of all kinds of these maps. You've probably seen a street map of the city or town where you live. You've probably also seen a road map, which shows roads that connect cities to each other.

Other maps you may have seen show city and states and countries and continents. Some maps also show landforms like mountains and bodies of water like rivers and oceans. These maps are called topographic maps.

People who forecast the weather use weather pattern maps. Studying cloud patterns can help a person predict when and where the next storm will hit. People who study earthquakes look at maps of plates in the earth's crust. When these plates move, they cause earthquakes.

Another type of map is called a floor plan. This type of map shows the size and names of the rooms in a building. An office building floor plan shows which company works in what office. If one company owns the whole building, then the floor plan shows which people work in what office.

Floor plans are made for houses and apartment buildings, too. When houses are built, their floor plans show which room is the kitchen, which rooms are the bedrooms, and so on. Apartment building floor plans can tell you the numbers of each apartment and where the supervisors live.

Floor plans can also show where electrical outlets and telephone jacks are. Electricians use these floor plans to connect your electrical appliances (like the refrigerator or the TV) to electrical outlets. Telephone workers connect your telephone wire to a jack, which connects to a telephone pole outside your home.

There is another kind of map, a three-dimensional map. This is called a globe. A globe is a round map. It usually shows countries, landforms, and bodies of water. Some computer programs let you see globes on the computer screen.

Next page > Why map knowledge is important > Page 1, 2

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Social Studies for Kids
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David White