The study of maps and the meaning of the information they contain, is
called geography. A person who studies or uses maps to collect data is
called a geographer. A person who makes maps is a cartographer. Maps are
important and valuable.
Making a map is very difficult. Many factors must be taken into account
to make a map that works well. The map must show relevant information, but
not in too much detail. It must be designed in colors and patterns that are
harmonious and easy to read. The map must be accurate as well.
A map cannot be as big as the area it represents. It would be too large
to look at. Therefore, a scale is used to relate map distance to real world
distance; it shows how much smaller the map is than the real world. Scale is
expressed as a mathematical ratio: for example 1 cm on the map could equal 5
footsteps or 10 meters in the real world. The person who creates the map
determines the scale they want to use.
A legend is an explanation of symbols that are used
to make the map easier to read. The legend is usually put in a corner of the
map that does not interfere with reading the map. Legends usually
contain symbols that helps locate objects. For instance, a square might be a
house or a square with a bell on it might represent a school on a map.
In this exercise, the students will find out first hand how to construct
a map that other people can read. This will take the form of a treasure
- Explain that to be useful, a map must be accurate
and contain enough information to guide the person who uses it. Bad maps
can cause major problems. Discuss with students scale and a legend.