Class 5 Social Studies Chapter 2 - Notes

Maps and Important Elements of a Map

Globe and maps are used to study the Earth. Globe is a small model of the Earth. Although a globe is the most accurate and have exact shape as the Earth but it has some drawbacks as compare to the maps.

Why maps are preferred over globe?

  • Globe is difficult to carry everywhere. Maps can be rolled and carried around.
  • It is not possible to see all the place of the Earth surface at the same but in maps it is possible to see all the places all together.
  • Globe does not show detailed information but maps can show detailed information.
  • Globe represents the whole earth but maps can be prepared even for a city, country etc.
Hence, maps are preferred over a globe.

What is cartography?

The science of making maps is called cartography. Oldest maps have been prepared about 8000 years ago.

The person who makes the maps is called cartographer.

What is a map?

A map is a drawing of the Earth's surface or a part of the Earth's surface.

Maps are drawn on flat surfaces such as paper sheets.

Chances of error in maps

Since the Earth is round and maps are flat. So there are always chances of error in drawing the maps.
Chances of errors are more if we make the maps of larger areas and less chances of errors in the maps of smaller places.

Different types of maps

  • Political Maps - Shows the boundaries of the countries, states or cities.
  • Physical Maps - Shows natural features of the land such as mountains, plateaus, plains, rivers etc.
  • Thematic Maps - special type of maps that show a particular theme connected with a specific geographic area, such as temperature variation, rainfall distribution or population density.
A book of maps is called an Atlas.

What is a wall map?

A large map designed and hung upon the wall of a room. It is easy to read the wall maps.

Elements of a map

Elements are the additional information used in the maps so that the map is more informative and easy to read.
  • Directions
  • Scale
  • Colour
  • Symbols

Directions in a map

There are four cardinal directions and four ordinal directions.

Cardinal Directions
    • North (N),
    • East (E),
    • West (W),
    • South (S)
Ordinal Directions
    • North-East (NE)
    • North-West (NW)
    • South-East (SE)
    • South-West (SW)
Cardinal and Ordinal Directions

Generally, maps are drawn with north at the top and marked by N. and then we can figure out the other directions.

Scale of a map

Maps are smaller drawings of the larger places. Distances are reduced as compared to the actual distances. The value by which the distances are reduced or increased in the maps are called the scale of the map.

Scale is ratio between the distance on the map and actual distance on the earth surface.

Scale = (Distance on map : actual distance on the Earth's surface)


If 500 km distance is represent by 5 cm on a map then the scale of the map will be (5 cm : 500 km)

How to show the scale on a map?

The scale of a map is shown as a line with distance marked on it. When Each division of the line represents the same distance then it is called a linear scale.

When each division of the line represents different distance values the it is called a non-linear scale.

Colours in a map

Standard colours are used to show features such mountains, plains, plateaus, oceans etc.
  • Dark Blue - Deep water bodies like oceans.
  • Light Blue - Shallow (less deep) water bodies.
  • Dark Brown - High Mountains
  • Light Brown - Lower mountains and hills
  • Yellow - Plateaus
  • Green - Plain areas and low lands.

Symbols on a map

A symbol is shape or sign that is used to represent something. Standard symbols are used to show specific features and places on a map.

In the places of writing the words, symbols are used to make a map more clean and easy to understand.

Standard Symbols used in a map.

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