A map is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional space. The science of making maps is called cartography.
- For alternative meanings see Map (disambiguation)
Early maps were vague and there was often controversy as to where to centre the map - one world map, for instance, has Jerusalem at the centre. The purpose of such maps seem to not be intended as geographic, but rather to show a history with regards to that geography. The early ship navigation charts were quite similar to modern maps in accuracy with the exception of unknown areas.
Many maps have a scale, determining how large objects on the map are in relation to their actual size. A larger scale shows more detail, thus requiring a larger map to show the same area. Some, though, are not drawn to scale - a famous example being the London Underground map.
If the map covers a large area of the surface of a globe, such as the Earth, it also has a projection, a way of translating the three-dimensional real surface of the geoid to a two-dimensional picture. One commonly used for navigation is the Mercator Projection; other popular projections are polar and a variety of equal-area projections.
The features shown on a map vary according to its purpose. For example, a road map may or may not show railroads, and if it does, it may show them less clearly than highways.
Maps can be political or geographical. The most important purpose of the political map is to show territorial borders; the purpose of the geographical is to show features of physical geography such as mountains, soil type or land use. Geological maps show not only the physical surface, but characteristics of the underlying rock, fault lines, and subsurface structures.
Many surveying projects have been carried out by the military. An example of this the British Ordnance Survey (which now is a civilian government agency).
Because maps are abstract representations of the world they are not neutral documents and must be carefully interpreted. It is, of course, this abstraction that makes them useful. Lewis Carroll made this point humorously in Sylvie and Bruno with his mention of a fictional map that had "the scale of a mile to the mile." A character notes some practical difficulties with this map and states that "we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well."
For maps on a computer display, e.g. from the web or locally stored on CD-ROM or harddisk, zooming in means enlarging the scale, either by showing a smaller area in the same viewing window or by showing the same area in a larger viewing window, and one of the following:
Combinations are possible, e.g. the second applying for text and the third for the outline of a map feature such as a forest, a building etc. Also the map may have layers which are partly raster graphics and partly vector graphics.
- replace the map by a more detailed one
- enlarge the same map without enlarging the pixels, hence show more detail
- enlarge the same map with the pixels enlarged (replaced by rectangles of pixels); no additional detail is shown, but, depending on the quality of one's vision, possibly more detail can be seen; if a computer display does not show adjacent pixels really separate, but overlapping instead (this does not apply for an LCD display, but may apply for a CRT), then replacing a pixel by a rectangle of pixels does show more detail.
For a single raster graphics image the second applies until the pixels in the image file correspond to the pixels of the display; on further zooming in, the third applies.
For a PDF-file typically the second applies. The increase in detail is, of course, limited to the information contained in the file: enlarging a curve it may eventually become a series of straight line segments, or other standard geometric figures such as arcs of circles.
A variation of the third possibility is that interpolation is performed.
Text is not necessarily enlarged when zooming in. Similarly, a road represented by a double line may or may not become wider when one zooms in. A variation of the first possibility above is that more text is displayed (such as more town names), but that for the rest of the image the second applies.
See also Webpage#Graphics, Portable Document Format#Layers.
- Road map is also used metaphorically for a plan, for example "Road map for peace".
- In computer games, a map is synonymous to a level. In the context of modifications, especially for first person shooters, the word map likewise refers to the full distribution-ready set of data for a map - for example, the map "de_dust" in Counter-Strike includes the brushes, textures, bomb sites, spawn points, and backgrounds.
- Songlines as maps in Australian Aborigine culture.
Maps on Wikipedia
Each country's article should feature a map of that country, as should many of the articles on those country's subdivisions. See also World map, Maps on Wikipedia.
Links and references
- David Buisseret, ed., Monarchs, Ministers and Maps: The Emergence of Cartography as a Tool of Government in Early Modern Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992, [ISBN 0226079872]
- Mark Monmorier, How to Lie with Maps, [ISBN 0226534219]
- Multimap world atlas: on UK, US, Canada, Australia and Western Europe more detailed than the rest of the world
-  - Microsoft/Encarta/Expedia world atlas, for North America and Europe to street level.
- MapQuest: on US, Canada and Western Europe more detailed than the rest of the world
- Yahoo Maps: on US, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Italy
- Yahoo Germany: on France, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux
- Map South Pacific: on Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia
-  - ESRI atlas of the US
- National Atlas of the United States
- Small country maps, conveniently linked from continent maps
- UT scanned collection: by the University of Texas at Austin
- Example of legend (Cito-Plan city maps)
- USGS National Map
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Offers over 300 map titles covering the USA.
Maps of almost anywhere in the world for travel, recreation, and reference.
Buddha-Nature Maps and Books
Retailer of Arizona topo and geologic maps; US trail, road, and recreation maps; and other maps, star charts, and globes.
Topographic maps for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah on CD-ROM.
The Exploration Company
The Hagstrom Map Company
Up-to-date, accurate map and travel reference products to for the all of the states and Canada. Search function makes it easy to find specific map products.
The Hereford Map Centre
The European online map specialists. Cycling map, road maps, and walking maps.
Sells U.S. and world wall maps, regional maps, globes, and atlases, with a specialty of maps related to Texas. Product descriptions and images.
Specializing in ordnance survey maps.
Sells maps and globes for the classroom, office, and home from a variety of publishers. Product photos and descriptions.
Thomas Maps and Travel Guides
Authorized wholesaler of Thomas Brothers Maps, including laminated map books, road atlases, wall maps, and CD-Rom editions. Product information and customization options.
World History Maps
Offers historical maps, showing countries of the world for every year in recorded history.
The Map Superstore
Retailer for ZIP code maps and data, business maps, wall maps, globes, and other maps. Product descriptions and photos.
Australian Travel Maps
Specializes in travel maps of Australian cities, regions, and outback areas. Shipping available worldwide.
Dealer in Belgium sells antiquarian maps of all parts of the world, from the 15th to the 18th century. Inventory, photos, and sales details.
Sells maps and guides of Scotland, including historic, tourist, street, and satellite maps. Also sells atlases, charts, and books on Scottish history. Product images and descriptions.
Sells custom color aerial photographs for any location in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida. Information about products, formats, and overlays.
Ordnance Survey - Leisure Map Shop
Britain's national mapping agency offers maps for walkers, cyclists and motorists, covering the entire United Kingdom .
Maps in Minutes
Sells computer editable worldwide political, satellite, and relief maps and globes for technical, graphic, and decorative design. Gallery, downloads, products, and instructions for use.
The Map Shop
Offers maps, nautical charts, globes, travel guides, satellite imagery, flags, geography games, custom mapping, USGS maps, and related items. Products, services, and map facts.
Arnold Map Service
Sells a wide range of maps and nautical charts, with a specialty in maps of the Pacific Northwest and local maps for Clark County, Washington. Product information and sample views of some types of maps.
Offers travel guides and maps for destinations worldwide, including city, road, and recreation maps. Also offers globes, atlases, wall maps, and travel accessories.
Sells Canadian topographic maps, aeronautical charts, nautical charts for Canada and the USA, globes, historical map reproductions, wall maps, street maps, and custom cartography. Product photographs and descriptions.
1st Stop Travel Store
Sells world globes and luggage. Product images and descriptions.
Sells maps and travel books of the British Isles and the United Kingdom, including the brands Ordnance Survey, Harvey, Footprint, and National Cycle. Products and descriptions.
Web Travel Services
Sells large wall maps of the world and of Europe. Product descriptions and images.
Ireland-based company sells wall maps designed for school, business, and personal use, in a variety of languages. Photos and descriptions.
Trident Map Services
Sells Ordnance Survey maps, street and road atlases, maps of Ireland, and educational products. Product information and specialist services.
Sells maps and walking books. Maps include Ordnance Survey, Harvey, and laminated maps. Walking books come from a wide range of publishers. Product details and links to sites of British walking, motoring, and outdoor groups.
Treasure Gem Globe
Sells lapis stone globes and world maps handcrafted with inlaid semi-precious gemstones. Product photographs, plus information about the stones and their country of origin.
Walker Map Studio
Creates unique, custom, hand-painted maps based on a client's trip or historical area of interest. Artist biography and samples of work.
Jonathan Potter Limited
Sells antique maps and antique-style reproduction and modern globes. Cartographer biographies, featured maps, services, gallery photo, and collecting information.
L. O. Thomas Maps, Inc.
Authorized independent distributor for Thomas Brothers products, including Thomas Guides, road atlases, CD-Rom guides, and wall maps. Product descriptions and images.
Sells Census 2000 tract, census block, and voting district maps, files, and data for the United States. Maps and files for GIS systems are available for instant download, or for shipment in CD or printed format.
Map Appeal, Inc.
Sells maps, globes, and images for the geography buff, world traveler, social sciences teacher, executive, and gift-giver. Specialty is high-definition satellite imagery in natural color.
Wide World of Maps
Sells maps, atlases, globes, books, gps units, and travel guides, including a specialty of products covering Arizona and the Southwest.
Tasmanian Map Centre
Sells local, Australian, and international maps and literature. Includes information about Tasmania, and photos of the shop and its owners.
Summit Geology & Consulting, LLC
Sells high-resolution satellite image wall maps and posters, including popular recreation areas of the mountain ranges and desert parks of North America. Images, descriptions, and geological research project services.
4 Corners Maps
Sells maps and globes, specializing in wall maps of the US, world, regions, states, counties and cities; zip codes and custom territories in the US; and desk and floor stand globes. Product descriptions and photos.
Hydrolink Map and Chart Shop
Sells topographic maps and hydrographic charts for New Zealand and the Pacific. Product information includes images, scales, and dates of publication and updates.
The World History Chart
Seller of poster wall map of world history. Close-up image of chart and online store for purchasing.
International Map Agency (IMAPA)
Specializes in producing hand painted city maps combining traditional art and modern technique.
Info-Map for the Georgia Mountains
About the Info-Map, showing the locations of many area attractions, including waterfalls, hiking trails, and campgrounds.
Maps Australia and World
Offers road maps, atlases and charts for Australia and world cities.
The Map Store
Sell globes, GPS equipment, worldwide street guides, wall maps, NOAA charts, USGS topos, and mapping gifts and supplies. Online sales, plus information about retail store in Columbus, Ohio.
Specialist supplier of maps, travel guides, globes and satellite images for 200 countries. Shipped worldwide.
Footprint Maps Ltd.
Sells maps and guides from publishers worldwide, with information about choosing the right map. Based in the UK.
Milwaukee Map Service, Inc.
Sells maps, globes, atlases, and software, with a specialty in maps of Wisconsin and Illinois.
East View Cartographic
Specializes in the supply of worldwide topographic maps, in many scales, including large-scale maps for "difficult" countries.
FLATTEXT Database Scripts
Offers custom ZIP Code maps for all states and counties in the United States. Specializing in maps showing political, economic, educational, transportation, and environmental data.
Maps of all countries, in editable format, structured by layers, and free of rights.
Sells road maps, wall maps, and world atlases, as well as travel accessories and children's travel activities.
Sells international maps, atlases, and guidebooks, specializing in products of New Zealand.
Intelligent Direct, Inc.
Sells maps featuring geographic data, census data, consumer data, and business location data. Also sells mapping software and databases, and offers custom services.
Sales of Australian topographic and tourist maps, atlases, street directories and books for travel, camping, fishing, bushwalking, motoring and boating.
A Maps & Graphics Company
Maps for business and reference, specializing in custom cartography for regional marketing and sales. In-stock wall maps, globes, and atlases. Mounting, laminating and framing services available.
Sierra Map Aide
Sells a tranparent map overlay that corrects for magnetic declination useful for land navigation.
Maps of India
Sells CD of maps featuring Indian states, cities, railway networks, highways, history, tourism, wildlife, and industries.
Specializing in digital USGS topographic maps for most of the United States, all sizes and scales.
Sells carrier route and ZIP code maps as computer files.
Sells world maps featuring top destinations for golf, skiing, snowboarding, scuba diving, surfing, and marathons.
Public Lands Information Center
Sells U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Forest Services maps for states of Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada.
Maps, Guides & More
Specializes in theme-related travel maps, atlases, and guides covering world destinations.
4WD Online Bookshop
Sells 4WD books, leisure maps, and accessories focused on Australian holidays.
Digital Map Store
Sells topographic maps, atlases, and software, plus aerial photos, covering all US states, for recreational and professional use.
Davenport Maps Ltd.
Specializes in maps covering British Columbia, Greater Vancouver, and Vancouver Island, Canada. Also offers custom mapping services.
AA Travel Bookshop
Maps, atlases, and guides for travel, accommodation and eating out, published by the UK's Automobile Association.
Carolina Map Distributors
Retailer of maps for the professional, recreational, and leisure markets, including atlases, topo maps, and globes. Product descriptions and photos.
River maps of Montana's Bighorn River, the Upper Colorado River and Utah's Green River show access points, mile markers, fishing holes, rapids, hazards, campgrounds, and other features. Sent by email in PDF format.
GCA International: Aeronautical Charts
Authorized agent for FAA/NACO, NIMA, AUSLIG, Canadian Map Office, and USGS maps.
Sells online digital map data. Users can search, browse, zoom, purchase, buy, print, download, and import maps, aerial photography, dem and satellite imagery interactively over the internet. Data is provided from leading map and image publishers.
Paper and digital topographic map collections with accompanying metadata covering entire U.S. States.
The GPS Store Ltd
Sells GPS equipment. Product descriptions, photos, and specifications.
Atlas & Zanzibar: ManyMaps
Maps and guides for hiking and climbing, plus road maps and travel guides.
Sells USGS topographic maps and other USGS publications. Also offers historical maps and publications from the USGS Library in Denver, Colorado.
Map and travel book store in the United Kingdom sells world-wide street, road, travel, walking, and wall maps. Includes newsletter.
Galaxy of Maps
Sells a wide range of maps and related items.
Maps and atlases for Mexico. Also offers topographic sheets from INEGI.
Atlas of electronic maps for the Mediterranean Sea. Scale 1:500 000.
The Geography Store
Sells raised relief maps, globes, classroom wall maps, and geography products. Based in Boulder, Colorado.
s.mile Direct Corporation
Physical, political, history, thematic, and climate maps.
Software, maps, guidebooks, globes, and world atlases.
Specializing in Canada but carrying maps and travel guides for the world.
Maps and guides for travellers.
Zip Code Maps
Maps of every metro, county, and custom radius (USA).
Weatherproof maps in various scales. Ireland and the UK complete, Europe progressively added.
Maps, globes, travel guides, boating charts, compasses, for Australia and the world.
Omni Resources: Map
A wide collection of maps, flags and other geographical items.
Specializes in maps of Central and South America.
Maps and GIS data for over 60 countries. Products for recreational and professional use.
EWP Maps and Guides
Maps and guidebooks to the mountains of East Africa, Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Digital maps of the world. Bilingual English and Spanish.
California Map and Travel Center
Maps, globes, atlases, books and travel accessories. Including topography maps and GPS systems.
Retailers of maps and globes.
Road, tourist, and wall maps of the world; continents, countries, regions, towns and cities.
Fresh Tracks Map Store
Interactive topographic maps, printed maps and guides, and navigation instruments including GPS units and FRS radios. Mostly USA coverage.
A wide range of maps of the world, continents and countries. Business aids include UK postcode maps as well as sales & marketing maps and other map related products.
Sells topographic maps, guidebooks, travel guides, how-to books, nature guides, and adventure narratives. Includes products and travel resources.
XYZ Digital Map Company, Ltd.
Offers world maps, UK street maps and CDs, air photo posters, digital images, GIS map data, map-related software, and training.
Sells a large selection of atlases and road maps of the United States: national, state, county, city and regional maps.
Maps and guides for outdoor pursuits in Canada, especially canoeing and kayaking.
Netstore USA Maps
The map and guide department of an online book store. Based in USA; will ship overseas.
The Map Shop
Includes catalogues of stock, description of Ordnance Survey products and services, business and multimedia products, and ordering information. Based in the UK; ships worldwide.
Maps To Anywhere
City and country maps, globes, travel guides, languages, dictionaries and travel accessories. Order by email or phone.
The English Globe Company
Handmade antique style globes.