What are the Different Types of Maps?

There are many maps, from simple sketch maps to give directions to complex nautical maps for ships to navigate the seas. We learn about political, physical, topographical, topological, nautical, thematic, and road maps in school.

A political map can show countries, country boundaries, cities, seas, and oceans. However, they usually don’t show physical features.

Physical maps show the physical features of an area, such as major rivers and lakes, relief (shape) of the land, deserts, and landforms, such as volcanoes.

A thematic map is a map that is designed to show information about a single topic, e.g., climate zones or populations. It does not usually show political or physical features.

Topographical maps show the shape of the land. Contour lines show the height of the land. Where the lines are close together, the relief of the land is very steep.

Nautical maps are sometimes called navigation maps and are used by ships to navigate safely through natural and artificial obstacles above and below the seas.

Road maps come in many different forms and show the layout of roads and motorways so that people can plan driving routes. However, paper-based road maps are less popular now that many people use satellite navigation devices.

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