Map key Definition

A map key is one inset on a map that explains the symbols, gives a scale, and also usually identify the form of map forecast used. Technically, the crucial is part of the map legend. The crucial explains the icons while the legend stop the crucial and other information.

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Purpose that A Map Key

The function of a map an essential is come tell friend the an interpretation of the symbols on a map. The key on a map interprets each symbol so the you deserve to read and also understand the map.

For example, what walk this symbol, ⇞, mean? Is it important to understand what it means? Is that pointing in a direction, standing for a solitary tree, or denote a forest?

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The map key is the only means for friend to understand for sure what the over symbol means.


Table that Contents


Definition

Map key Symbols

When making a map, Cartographers (map makers) cannot compose out everything and also make that fit. They require quick, straightforward drawings, dubbed map symbols, to replace written information. If you carry out not recognize what ·, ∘, or ⊙ means, you cannot know the map.

A map an essential tells friend what all the icons on the map mean. For example, the little black dot, ·, way a city or village, the open circle, ∘, way a city that at the very least 75,000 world or the ⊙ way a state capital. A map an essential can phone call you the ★ usually reflects a country’s capital.

Every map provides its very own map symbols, relying on the details the cartographer desires to show. Map tricks can show symbols for natural resources, populace centers, bodies of water, types of industry, and much more.

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Here are some different symbols appearing in map keys:

Types of Map SymbolsSymbolMeaning
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River
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Railroad Tracks

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Food
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Bar
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Cafe
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Shopping
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Grocery
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Arts
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Lighthouse
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Theater
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Tourist Attraction
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Casino
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Aquarium
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Event Venue
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Amusement Park
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Historical Site
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Museum
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Movie Theater
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Monument
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Music
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Relic
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Gas Station
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Parking
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Car Rental
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Hotel
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Resort
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ATM
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Bank
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Hospital
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Pharmacy
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Medical
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Park / Forest
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Mountain
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Sports Stadium
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Zoo
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Campground
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Cemetary
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Golf Course
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Garden
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Hiking
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Boating
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Fishing
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Airport
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Train
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Metro
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Subway
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Bus
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Rail
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Ferry
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Bridge
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Civic Building
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Post Office
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Library
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Police Station
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School
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Restroom / Bathroom
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Miscellaneous
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Church or Temple
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Synagogue

As you watch in this perform of Google Maps symbols above, different colors represent different categories. Green for outdoors, orange for dining and drinks, etc.

Map vital Examples

This map that Tennessee has actually a an essential that shows exactly how the land is used. Tiny symbols that look like pigs, plants, and stone show where animals are elevated for food, whereby plants space grown, and also where ores and also rocks space mined.

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This map vital uses herbal colors for organic formations yet uses abstract forms for human activity. It offers coded squares to display ruins and archeological sites. It offers circles to stand for villages and also towns. The natural formations such together ice and also desert are shown in colors that resemble the genuine things.

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Legend Vs. Key

You might wonder what the difference is in between a map key and a map legend. The vital makes the map understandable. The map legend usually consists of not only the map an essential to the symbols but a many other useful information:

Map scale, in big units like miles and kilometers, or tiny units choose feet and metersMap forecast name, favor Mercator, Cassini, Equirectangular, Gauss–Krüger, or SinusoidalMap publication dateCartographer or company name

Today we use both paragraph to average the exact same thing, yet the map an essential is technically discovered in the map legend.

Compass climbed On A Map

The compass top top a map is referred to as a compass rose. That main duty is to suggest north, but it practically always reflects the cardinal direction (north, south, east, and west). Sometimes it tells the intermediary or ordinal directions, too: northeast, southeast, northwest, southwest.

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Unlike every the other symbols on the map, the compass climbed does not usually show up in the vital or legend. That is usually attracted in an unimportant area, choose an ocean or large desert, so the it does no cover locations. By tradition, most maps orient so the north is in ~ the peak of the map.

On maps and nautical charts taking care of tides, sailing, and coastlines, the compass climbed is also called a "windrose" or "rose of the winds." very accurate nautical charts and also some topological maps show both true north and also magnetic phibìc on the compass rose.

Map an essential Quiz

See if girlfriend can uncover your means around a map through answering these questions.

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Define the “map key.”What is an additional name because that a legend on a map?Why is a legend important for most maps?What prize is next to Washington DC ~ above the map?What walk a star usually typical on a map?Fill in the blank: a map"s ___________ explains its markings and also symbols.What map symbol for a mountain selection is most regularly used?

The key to ending up being a legend in your very own time is to examine hard. Don’t peek at the answers below until you have actually tried her best!

You might define “map key” as the component of a map inside the map legend that tells what the map icons mean. We usage a map key and map legend interchangeably.Another name for a legend ~ above a map is a map key, although you can get very picky and say that the legend hold the map an essential and other information.A legend is necessary for many maps because cartographers can not write everything into the map, for this reason they need symbols. The symbols need a key to recognize them.The star symbol, ★, is beside Washington DC ~ above the map.A star, ★ , usually method a country resources on a map.Fill in the blank: a map"s legend or key explains its markings and also symbols.The map symbol for a mountain selection is frequently a tiny triangle or upside-down ∨: △ or ∧.

What you learned:

After functioning your way through this lesson and video, you have learned the:

Definition that a map key and a map legendPurpose of a map crucial in the map legendTypes of symbols on a mapDifference between a map crucial and map legend