Every map is unique, but most have at least five main materials in common. Indigenous the title come the compass rose, each part tells you something about how to check out the map. Find out what every map part is and what it way so girlfriend can find your way.

You are watching: 5 essential elements of a map


2. Map key or Legend

All the map signs are characterized in the map key, or map legend. The terms “key” and “legend” are regularly used interchangeably, but some maps have actually both a an essential and a legend. In this instances, the an essential includes the icons while the legend contains things choose the scale and also compass rose.

The symbols on a map make it much easier to read since the map is not crowded with words. The key is normally off come the next of the map and tells you what each symbol was standing for.


3. Range Indicator

Maps are usually lot smaller 보다 the actual places they show, so the street on a map is also much smaller than the actual street of the locations. The scale indicator, or scale, tells you just how a unit of measurement on the map relates to units of measure in actual life.

A scale often looks like a bar or line through numbers same spaced out. It will tell girlfriend what street on the map equates to what distance in reality. Because that example, one centimeter ~ above the map can equal one mile in the genuine world. You might need come know typical measurement abbreviations to review the scale.


4. Grid

A map’s grid is a series of imagine horizontal and also vertical lines attracted onto the map. This lines might represent actual latitudes and longitudes or they may just split the map into smaller parts. Net lines will be labeling at one end or every end.


5. Compass increased or phibìc Arrow

The orientation the a map is vital to know, so a device that shows you the cardinal directions, or at the very least which way is north, is consisted of on many maps. You may see an arrow labeled “N” because that north, or you may see a compass rose. A compass rose looks like a big star and also shows north, south, east, and also west.


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Other common Parts the a Map

Because every map is unique, it’s difficult to recognize the simple parts that appear on every solitary map. You may see examples of the three main parts that a map or also five, six, or eight main contents of a map.

Additional common map parts include:

border or neatline - a thick line showing where the map stopsmap credits - information around who make the map, as soon as it to be made or the data was used to do itlocator map or inset - a zoomed in or zoomed out see of one area stood for on the map

The do of a Map

Learning the straightforward elements that a map helps you review existing maps and also create your very own maps. Whether you’re developing a fantasy map for the fictional human being you developed or reading a map top top a trip, knowledge these map parts will take you to amazing places. If you gain learning around mapping, girlfriend might additionally like to explore the 5 themes that geography.