Ever since we discovered the desire to explore we have had maps to help us find the way. Maps are a graphical representation of the world that have been drawn or printed on paper with symbolic representations of significant features like land height, regions, roads, landmarks and natural resources. Some however are three dimensional like the globe, which portrays an accurate vision of the Earth and the countries, continents and oceans in relation to each other. The most widely used type of may today are road maps to find the way from one place to another. Origins
The process of creating maps is known as cartography. Cave paintings were thought to be the first representation of the land. They have changed over time from very basic drawings to extremely detailed computer printed maps. The earliest surviving maps were created on clay tablets but they were also produced on stone, wood and leather and now they are printed on paper or stored electronically online or on satellite navigation devices and Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Before these systems existed maps were created through observation and land surveys. Now they are accurately created with the use of aerial photography.Specifics
What can you use maps for today? Well in addition to having a local or national road map in your car you can use maps for various reasons and there are websites available who use maps as their main focus:
- To help you find your way through planning journeys and giving you a comprehensive list of directions often with pictures of significant parts of the journey.
- To locate specific landmarks such as shopping centers, airports, entertainment spots, hotels or even rest facilities.
- To find out what the traffic is like on roads that you may use to get to work or if you're trying to get away on holiday. Maps online now often have life traffic updates, which can pinpoint trouble spots of inform you of any delays.
- Plan road trips, hiking trips, find places of natural beauty, find locations of events and things to look out for while you're out and about.
- Explore a new place or see a different part of the world before you visit.
- Look at photographs linked to online maps of the places that may be of interest.
- Look at street views and locate specific places that aren't always view-able on a regular map.
So, maps may be an ancient concept but they're still as relevant today as they were for our ancestors. After all, we're just trying to find the way.
Revised January 13th, 2016
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