Maps can guide travelers to where they are going or show where places or things are located. Almost every map has a compass of some sort showing which way is east, west, north and south. Maps usually also have a scale, which helps its readers estimate distances, such as one inch on the map equals so many miles in reality. The other features of a map are as varied as their uses. Here are six categories of commonly used maps. Can you match them with their descriptions?

Climate Map
Physical Map
Political Map
Resource/Economic Map
Road Map
Topographic Map

1. These are the maps we use to show us how to get where we are going. They will include interstates, state highways, cities and major points of interest such as parks or forests. Local maps may also include minor highways and roads, airports or local landmarks.

2. These maps use general information about how much precipitation (rain and snow) a region receives, or its average temperatures. These maps might appear in pairs or if there are a marked differences between seasons.

3. These maps are used by hikers or others going into wilderness areas where there are few, if any roads or man-made landmarks to guide them. Water bodies are shown and contour lines show the elevation and shape of the landscape. The farther apart the lines are drawn, the flatter the terrain. The closer the lines, the more steep the area.

4. These maps use symbols to show the natural resources or major industries in a region. Some may show a variety of symbols indicating the various resources/industries present. Others may focus on one resource and show its density, based on a scale using the size, color or number of symbols present in a given area.

5. These maps show the geological features of the region, including waterways and mountains. Water features are almost always shown in blue, while lower elevations are shown in green, the darker the green-the lower the elevation. Higher elevations are frequently shown in shades of brown, with white reserved for snow-capped peaks.

6. These maps show boundaries of states, or countries. On maps featuring large areas, major cities are usually marked with dots-the larger the dot, the larger the city-and capitals are usually indicated with a star, or star within a circle. Adjoining states and countries are usually depicted in different colors.


1. Road Map
2. Climate Map
3. Topographic Map
4. Resource / Economic Map
5. Physical Map
6. Political Map