What Does A Physical Map Show?

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What Does A Physical Map Show?



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Map Skills: Political and Physical Maps

Political maps are widely used reference maps that show governmental and geographic boundaries between units such as countries, counties, states, provinces, or regions. They may also show major cities, towns, and settlements depending on the purpose or use. In short, political maps indicate political features of a given place, including political boundaries.

A political boundary is a line separating neighboring places controlled by different governments. Sometimes, a political boundary corresponds to a geographic boundary like rivers or mountains. However, political boundaries are mostly imaginary lines decided through negotiations and treaties. Although political maps do not show topographic features, they may indicate certain physical elements, including drainage features such as lakes, rivers, and oceans, and mountains. These physical features on a political map are only used as geographical references. Besides physical features, political maps may also contain transportation networks like roads and rail.

Like physical maps, political maps also feature different colors for different places. For instance, different colors may be used on a country map to show the various places such as towns, states, provinces, or regions. However, there is no rule for choosing or using colors on a political map. However, three to four colors are often sufficient irrespective of the map size.

An example of a political map is the map of the United States showing all the 50 states and the bordering places, with different states represented by different colors. Without a political map, one may not know the extent of a country, state, or region. Knowing where political boundaries are located is essential in determining who controls a region and the natural resources. Political boundaries have been a source of territorial disputes between nations, especially where borders were not clearly spelled out. However, the International Court of Justice and other international bodies rely on political maps to settle such disputes.

Although physical and political maps are different, they share certain similarities or some common features. Both maps feature different colors, representing distinct elements. Thus, the first thing one will notice on the maps is the different colors. The other common similarity between the two maps is that a physical map can indicate certain political features and vice versa. For instance, a political map may contain geographic features like oceans and mountains, while physical maps may contain political boundaries. Also, both maps have some names on them, indicating the various places represented on the maps. However, the political and physical maps are strikingly different in several ways.

Physical maps indicate mainly the geographic elements like drainage and relief features, while political maps show territorial characteristics such as government boundaries, states, cities, and different countries. Although both maps feature different colors, the only difference is that physical maps feature mostly dull colors such as green, brown, gray, and blue colors for different elevations, while political maps can feature mostly bright colors to differentiate places. This fragmentary information can be supplemented when construction projects, landslides , stream erosion and other events expose rock beneath previously unobserved areas. As a result, geologic maps can be refined and updated as new information is obtained.

Most geologic maps are usually accompanied by at least one cross-section that illustrates what is expected to be seen if a "slice through the Earth" was cut across the map area. These cross-sections illustrate the geologic structures inferred by mapping the rocks and sediments above. They do the fieldwork, prepare the maps, publish them, and offer them to the public in digital and paper formats. Zip Code Map: This map shows some of the zip codes in the state of Connecticut. They are usually plotted over a base map that shows the roads and streets within the zip code area.

The United States Postal Service assigns zip codes for a section of a street, a collection of streets, an establishment, a structure, a group of post office boxes, or the area serviced by a single post office for the delivery of mail. Rather than consisting of geographic areas, zip codes are more in conformance with a group of mail delivery routes. In sparsely populated areas, a single zip code can cover many square miles, but in cities a zip code can be assigned to a single building or to an organization with a campus of buildings. Businesses make valuable use of zip code maps by matching them to zip code tabulation data compiled by the United States Census Bureau.

This data characterizes the population within a zip code by age, gender, race, national origin, income, housing, and much more. Companies can use this information to determine if they want to market to people within that zip code and how they want to market. They can also coordinate their mailings with the United States Postal Service to deliver their marketing materials to zip codes where demographic data suggests a high density of potential customers. Weather Map showing projected high temperatures for Sunday, July 29, This is one of the many types of weather maps prepared by the National Weather Service of the United States and published online for anyone to use. Visit their website at weather.

People use an incredible number of weather maps. They are used to show predicted temperatures, predicted precipitation, storm warnings of various kinds, wind speed and direction, chance of precipitation, type of precipitation, snow accumulation, frost prediction and many other aspects of weather. All of these weather maps are continuously updated to communicate the most current information. They are the world's most frequently consulted thematic maps. Weather maps are presented in newspapers, television programs and especially on websites. Delivering weather maps on websites and through web apps gives people around the world instant access to weather information.

Many weather maps are animated maps that show historical or projected changes in the weather. These are extremely useful for people who need to know how changes in weather will impact their travel, workday, recreation, and many other plans. Species Distribution Maps show where certain plant or animal species can be found. This map shows where different types of bears live in North America. The area normally inhabited by a plant or animal species can be mapped. These maps are made by compiling the locations where qualified people have repeatedly observed that species in the wild. The resulting maps show by color or pattern the geographic area where that species is encountered.

These maps are known as "species distribution maps" or "geographic range maps. That map was made by overlaying the geographic ranges of black bears, grizzly bears, and polar bears on a single map. Because the geographic ranges of these three species overlap, it is possible to be in an area where a person might encounter one, two, or even three different species. There are also areas of North America where a person would not expect to encounter a bear. The resulting map is shown in the accompanying image. Income Map: Map showing the median household income of the United States using individual counties as enumeration units. Map by the United States Census Bureau. Click to enlarge. Income maps are a very common type of thematic map.

They show variations of income across a geographic area. The standard mapped variable for an income map is median household income. Income tends to be highly geographic because rural portions of a state or country often have lower median household income than urban areas. Within urban areas, income can also be highly variable because neighborhoods tend to be populated by people with similar income levels. After each major census, the Bureau updates its set of income maps and makes them available to the public. The Census Bureau also makes "change in income maps". These show which geographic areas have experienced economic growth or economic decline over a specific time interval. Resource Map: Map illustrating the the photovoltaic solar resource of the United States.

It is clear from this map that the solar resource of the United States is greatest in the southwestern part of the country. Citizens, companies and governments can use this map to make decisions about investing in a solar power solution. Thematic maps are often made to communicate the geographic distribution of natural resources. These maps might show countries with the highest diamond production or the geographic extent of an oil or gas field. The map shown here illustrates the geographic pattern of solar generating capacity for the United States. Resource maps are important because they help governments understand their natural resource assets and the natural resource assets of their allies and potential enemies.

Resource maps help mining companies target their exploration efforts. They are also important for assessing the transportation opportunities and problems associated with the distribution of resources and the location of where they are consumed. The earthquake was felt throughout most of California and into Nevada and Oregon. The map above shows the intensity of ground shaking across the felt area of the earthquake. Intensity levels are shown as a color sequence where red areas experienced the strongest ground shaking and green areas experienced ground shaking that was much less severe. A collection of intensity maps for numerous California earthquakes can be viewed here. Earthquake maps focus on the scientific aspects of earthquakes or on the impact and mitigation aspects.

There are many types of earthquake maps. Here are a few:. Epicenter Maps show the geographic location of earthquake epicenters the point on Earth's surface immediately above where the vibrations of an earthquake originated. They can show the location of one earthquake or the geographic distribution of many earthquakes. They have scientific value for understanding the distribution of earthquakes and mitigation value because they reveal areas where earthquakes frequently occur. Each epicenter is plotted as a symbol, and the symbols can have different colors, sizes and shapes to indicate the earthquakes' strength, depth, or date.

Fault Maps show the geographic location of faults. Faults are fractures in the Earth from which earthquakes and their vibrations emanate. Fault maps are of interest to scientists, and they are a geologic hazard map because future movements of the fault will generate the vibrations of an earthquake. Intensity Maps show the geographic distribution of ground shaking caused by an earthquake. The intensity of shaking is measured using the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale explained in this article.

Intensity maps are produced by obtaining intensity values from many locations within the felt area of the earthquake, plotting that data on a map, and contouring that data into areas of equal intensity. Intensity maps can be used as a measure of future earthquake hazard. Earthquake Hazard Maps show geographic areas subject to specific types of hazards. They might show areas prone to the liquefaction of soil, areas prone to landsliding , and areas underlain by soft sediment that might cause unusually intense vibrations. Plate Tectonics Map: A portion of a map showing the geographic extent and boundaries of Earth's lithospheric plates by the United States Geological Survey. Plate tectonics is a branch of the geological sciences that deals with the movement and interaction of Earth's lithospheric plates.

These plates move and interact with one another to cause earthquakes , volcanic activity , mountain building, the production of new lithosphere, the destruction of old lithosphere, and other geologic processes. Most of this activity occurs at lithospheric plate boundaries. Geologists produce and use many types of maps in the study of plate tectonics. The most commonly referenced is a plate boundary map. These maps show the geographic extent and boundaries of the lithospheric plates. Other types of maps used in the study of plate tectonics include: earthquake epicenter maps, volcanic activity maps, ocean floor age maps, plate movement direction maps, and many others. Much of the work done by geologists involves the production of a map.

Bathymetric Map: A portion of a bathymetric map of the Arctic Ocean in color and shaded relief. Map by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and others. A bathymetric map, sometimes called a bathymetric chart, is a map that shows the depth of a body of water, such as a lake, a part of the ocean, a river, or a reservoir. Depths can be shown using contour lines, shaded relief, colors, or a combination of these methods. Bathymetric maps are valuable for avoiding shallow or dangerous waters during ship navigation, planning construction projects, deciding where to fish, determining the cost of drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, planning a trans-Atlantic communications cable, or finding a good place to scuba dive.

Making bathymetric maps used to be very expensive and time consuming. Depths were determined by "soundings" - lowering a weight on a cable to the bottom of the water body and determining the length of cable required. Today, depths can be determined by sonar and a variety of other remote measurement methods. Did you know that scientists have identified volcanoes in the United States that will most likely erupt at some time in the future? Most of these volcanoes are in Alaska, but significant numbers are found in Hawaii, California, Washington, and Oregon.

People need to know which volcanoes present a danger, the types of volcanic hazards that can be expected, and the geographic area that will be dangerous if an eruption occurs. For that reason, geologists have prepared geologic hazard maps for the volcanoes that present the greatest risk to people and are working to complete maps for other volcanoes. The accompanying map shows three areas designated to have a high to very high volcanic threat in northern California: Medicine Lake Volcano, Mount Shasta, and Lassen Volcanic Center. At Medicine Lake Volcano: the dashed line represents the area that could potentially receive ashfalls of two inches or greater; the yellow area is where lava flows could occur; and the pink area is where near-vent hazards such as pyroclastic flows, lava flows, ballistics, lahars, or floods could occur.

At Mount Shasta and the Lassen Volcanic Center: the dashed line represents the two-inch ashfall hazard area, the pink areas could experience near-vent hazards, the brown areas could experience lahars, and the dark blue areas could experience floods. Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause enormous amounts of damage. When one of these storms is detected, the National Hurricane Center starts monitoring it and determining its anticipated path. Once they have adequate information, online maps are published that show the anticipated path of the storm, the times that it is expected to arrive at specific locations, and the intensity of coastal hazards that might be expected.

One of the online hurricane track maps for Hurricane Dorian, a category 5 storm that made landfall on the Florida, Georgia, and Carolinas coasts in late August and early September of , is shown in the accompanying image. It is believed to be a map of the city of Nippur, located in the area that is now known as Iraq. People have been making maps for thousands of years. The first map might have been a sketch made in sand using a stick or a finger. It might have been charcoal marks on a stone, or engravings on a clay tablet. Eventually maps were drawn on paper. The printing press enabled those maps to be printed on paper and distributed by the thousands.

Papermaking and printing eventually became inexpensive enough that almost anyone could afford to purchase a map, and until the late s, many gasoline stations were still distributing free road maps as an advertising courtesy to their customers. In the s the internet enabled the distribution of maps online, and the economics of map distribution and the ability to sell certain types of maps were changed forever.

Soon, with interactive map serving, any user of the internet could become a cartographer. Now more unique maps are produced online every day than were made in across the entire history of mapmaking, from pre-history until about Here are some of the most popular. Article by: Hobart M. Different Types of Maps Different Types of Maps: Here are a few examples of the different types of maps discussed in this article. Political Boundary Maps Political Maps show boundaries between countries, states, counties, and other political units. Election Results Map Election Results Map: Sometimes considered to be a different variety of "political map", "election results maps" show the results of an election by geographic subdivision or voting district.

Physical Maps Physical Map: This physical map of Eurasia shows the topography of the land in a color-gradient relief. Geologic Map Cross-Section Geologic Cross-Section illustrating the subsurface structure of rocks in the map area above. Species Distribution Maps Species Distribution Maps show where certain plant or animal species can be found. Income Map Income Map: Map showing the median household income of the United States using individual counties as enumeration units. Land Below Sea Level. Find Other Topics on Geology. Maps Volcanoes World Map. Gifts That Rock. Map of the Oceans. Types of Maps. Map of the Ten Largest Deserts. What Is An Archipelago? Rocks: Galleries of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock photos with descriptions.

Minerals: Information about ore minerals, gem materials and rock-forming minerals. Volcanoes: Articles about volcanoes, volcanic hazards and eruptions past and present. Gemstones: Colorful images and articles about diamonds and colored stones. General Geology: Articles about geysers, maars, deltas, rifts, salt domes, water, and much more! Geology Store: Hammers, field bags, hand lenses, maps, books, hardness picks, gold pans.

Citing sources in a research paper apa Golden Age. These maps are known as What does a physical map show? distribution maps" or "geographic range maps. Encyclopedic Entry Vocabulary. They What does a physical map show? the needs of their audience and the purpose Help with my research paper the map. Here are some of the most popular. If he used the larger Greek stadium, his circumference I would like to visit essay be larger than the Earth by about 16 percent. Maps What does a physical map show? show visible features, such as rivers and lakes, forests, buildings, and roads.