Types of Maps – Class 5

Objective of the chapter: Maps Our Guide - Class 5

You will learn about:

  • the difference between a Globe and a Map
  • why we prefer using maps to globes
  • different types of maps
  • elements of a map

In the chapter, Globe – A Model of the Earth, we have learned that a globe is a small model of the Earth.

It is the most accurate way to see the shape and location of the continents, countries, cities, and oceans on a smaller scale.

However, it has the following shortcomings.

  • It is difficult to carry globe.
  • You can cannot see all the parts of the Earth's surface at the same time.
  • Due to its small size, it is not possible get detailed information.

To avoid these problems, maps are used in place of globe.

What Is A Map?

Political World Map Class 5

Above image is an example of a political world map.

A map is a drawing of the Earth's surface, or a part of it, on a flat surface, such as a sheet of paper.

As per requirement, a map can be created for the whole world or a continent or a country or a city.

Different Types Of Maps

A map can be drawn in any size. However, the larger the area covered by a map, the more will the errors in it.

Thus, a map of a small place can be drawn accurately. But a map of a country or the world will have errors because they cover very large areas.

Difference between a Map and a Atlas

A map (also called a wall map) is a representation of an area of the world, country, city or a place. It can be easily hung upon the wall of a room or rolled up or folded and carried.

Atlas is a collection of maps. In other words, a book of maps is called an atlas.

An atlas contains different types of maps. Some of these are as follows:

  • Maps showing boundaries of countries, states, cities are called political maps.
  • Maps showing geographical features such as plains, rivers, deserts, mountains are known as physical maps.
  • Maps are also used to show rainfall data in different areas.
  • It can also show details such as roads, routes of railway, airline and sea.

Elements Of A Map

Maps consist of different type of elements such as directions, sale, color, and symbols.

Each of these elements provides some specific information about the map and the area it covers.

These elements helps us to understand the map better.


Map Direction

Direction is one of the most elements of a map. There are four cardinal directions - north, south, east and west.

Usually maps are drawn with north at the top and are indicated with an arrow marked N. It helps to find other areas located in south, east and west directions.

If north is at the top, then south is at the bottom, east is to the right, and west to the left.

In the above image, you can see that north-east (NE) lies between north and east, north-west (NW) between north and west, south-east (SE) between south and east, and south-west (SW) between south and west.


Due to small size of a map it is not possible to show the actual distances between places.

Distances are shrunk to show large area inside a map. To be able to do this accurately, maps are drawn to a scale.

The scale of a map is the ratio between distance shown on the map and the actual distance on the ground.

For example, the actual distance between two cities may be 100 kilometres. But on a map, it may be shown as 1 centimetre.

Then, the scale of a the map is '1 centimetre : 100 kilometres'.

Similarly, a distance of 500 kilometres between two places can be shown as 5 centimetres.

The scale of a map is often shown as a line with distances marked on it. It is also called a linear scale.


In a map, different colours are used to show plains, deserts, mountains, oceans, etc.

Let's see some examples.

  • Mountains and highlands are shown in brown and yellow. Dark brown shows high mountains. Light brown shows lower mountains and hills. Yellow shows plateaus.
  • Plains and lowlands are shown in green.
  • Water bodies are shown in blue. Deep blue shows deep waters and light blue shows shallow waters.


Symbols are used in a map to represent real objects. Basically, it is a shapre or sign that is used to represent something.

For example, to show a national highway on a map we can put two parallel lines. Anyone seeing a parallel line on a map can identify that it is a national highway.

Thus, symbol make it easier to read and understand maps.


A. Fill in the blanks.

  1. An _________ is a book of maps.

  2. The ratio of distance on a map to actual distance is known as the _________ of the map.

  3. On a map, high mountains are shown in __________ colours.

  4. On a map, the use of the colour blue shows __________.

  5. Shapes or signs used to represent features on a map are called __________.

  6. On a map drawn to a scale of 1 centimetre : 100 kilometres, a distance of 5 centimetres on the map means an actual distance of __________.

  7. If north is at the top in a map, west is to the __________.

See Answers

  1. Atlas
  2. Scale
  3. dark brown
  4. water bodies
  5. symbol
  6. 500 kilometres
  7. left

B. Multiple Choice Questions.

  1. Which of these maps will always have some errors?
    (a) map of your house
    (b) map of your school
    (c) map of your neighbourhood
    (d) map of the world

  2. What does a political map show?
    (a) features such as mountains, plains and rivers
    (b) roads, railway and airline routes
    (c) boundaries of countries, states and important cities
    (d) number of seats won by political parties in an election

  3. On a map, 1000 km is shown as 1 cm. The scale of the map is:
    (a) 1000 kilometre : 1 centimetre
    (b) 1 centimetre : 1000 kilometre
    (c) 100 kilometre : 1 centimetre
    (d) 1 centimetre : 100 kilometre

  4. Blue colour in a map always shows:
    (a) plain land
    (b) hills
    (c) water bodies
    (d) marshy land

See Answers

  1. (d)
  2. (c)
  3. (b)
  4. (c)