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Maps: Map Types


Definitions of "atlas, globe, map, and topography" all came from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary's online

Definitions of "political map" and "physical map" came from

Map Definition

A map is a picture or chart that shows the rivers, mountains, streets, etc in a particular area.


An atlas is a bound collection of maps, often including illustrations, tables or textual matter.


Globes are spherical representations of the earth, a celestial body, or the heavens. 

Political Map

Political maps are designed to show governmental boundaries of countries and states. They can also indicate the location of major cities, and they usually include significant bodies of water.

Historical Maps

Historical maps show how a particular piece of land changed or what happened there at a particular point in time.  


Physical Map

Physical maps often include much of the same data found on a political map, but their primary purpose is to show landforms like deserts, mountains and plains.

Topographical Maps

Topography is the art or science of making maps that show the height, shape, etc of the land in a particular area.