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What are Maps ?

Conventionally, a map represents the world on a plane surface, enabling one to locate parts of earth, or other bodies and features depicting their position. Maps can be viewed as tools that symbolically represent a place, reduced in size. Maps represent political boundaries, natural resources, physical features, roads, and topography. Maps have actually helped us understand the world around us.

Originally, the name ‘Map’ comes from the Latin word “mappa”, meaning napkin or paper that was used to draw a map on.

Maps have evolved through the course of history, but have withstood the test of time and transformed as per requirements globally, aided by technological advancements. A journey which began from clay tablets, leather and stone, led to the maps being produced on paper. However, nowadays with the advancement of technology, maps can be viewed on computers or even smart phones through GIS (Geograhic Information Systems). Today, a map is not only a spatial representation of a place, but is also created around the themes such as distances, population, climate, economies, etc.

Maps have become the basic necessity of our lives. They are used as navigation tools to get from one place to another, or locate a particular spot. Aerial photography, remote-sensing, computers and the ascent of the internet, have made mapping more accessible to all of us.

The true definition of a map is tough to find, as it can be termed as a projection, a marking, or a boundary, while every user may use it differently. While a street map is helpful in locating our surroundings, national maps represent land and water bodies, Country maps represent borders, and a World Map represents all the above.

Maps have been the biggest boon to travelers, especially who plan to go hiking or trekking. Mapping is a science in itself, which has detailed information attached to it. For those who are curious and wish to explore in depth all about the world of maps, read on...more...

What is Cartography ?

Many people believe that cartography refers to the making of maps. While this is a basic definition that can be used to describe the science it does not fully encompass everything that cartography is. In fact, cartography is more than just a science. True cartography is both a science and an art and cartographers are those who are charged with developing maps that are both accurate and useful. Maps are basically a tool for humans to understand, measure, and make concrete information about the world that surrounds them. Additionally, many maps include more than just a physical representation of an area. Some maps include population numbers and density, political development, cultural data, and other socio-economic information that is useful to measure. more...