Understand Maps and Cartography
How Maps Can Deceive Us
When we look at a map, we often take for granted that it inherently distorts what it is representing. In order to be readable and understandable, maps must distort reality. Learn all about accidental as well as purposeful distortion on maps.
Some maps are designed to be particularly persuasive. Like other forms of propaganda, cartographic or map propaganda attempts to mobilize viewers for a purpose.
North at the Top of the Map
Learn why the top of the map points to the north and not to another direction. Why is north at the top of the map in cartography and geography?
John Paul Goode
A biographical overview of John Paul Goode, the cartographer and geographer who developed a new map projection and published the famous Goode's World Atlas.
Future of Paper Maps
Do GIS, GPS, smart phones, and computers mean the end of paper maps? Learn about the future of paper maps.
Crime Mapping and Analysis
An overview of crime mapping and the analysis of crime by law enforcement agencies through the use of maps and geographic technologies, such as GIS.
What Is a Map?
Learn the answer to the question - What Is a Map? - with this basic, easily-understood overview of maps.
Learn about orienteering, a sport using navigation with maps and compasses to find various points in unfamiliar and often difficult-to-follow terrain, from the About.com expert GuideSide.
Thematic Maps - An Overview of Thematic Maps
An overview of thematic maps and their types; thematic maps are used to display data on a map. Learn about thematic maps and cartography from the About.com Geography site.
Map Colors - The Role of Colors on Maps
Maps usually use a standard palette of map colors to represent features on the earth. Learn about map colors from your About.com expert Guide to Geography.
Great Circles - Overview of Great Circles
Learn how great circle and great circle routes are utilized for navigation and how they divide the earth into two equal halves, from the About.com expert geography site.
Dating Old Maps and Globes
Discover how to determine the date that an old map or globe was published.
International Date Line
Find out how the International Date Line works along with the 24 time zones of the world.
How to Measure Distances on a Map
Six quick steps to help determine the ground distance based on two points on a map.
Parts of a Map
Maps are the basic tools of geography. They enable us to depict spatial phenomenon on paper. There are conventions used in cartography which allow a map to be read efficiently and quickly. Learn how to use the different parts of a map.
Isolines are often used on maps to represent points of equal value - discover the diverse nature of isolines.
Latitude and Longitude
Learn about the longitude and latitude lines running across your maps. What do they mean? How do you read them?
It is impossible to accurately represent the spherical surface of the earth on a flat piece of paper. Thus, we have map projections. This article discusses topic and provides an excellent overview.
Scale indicates the relationship between a certain distance on the map and the distance on the ground. Find out how scale is chosen and its impact.
Peters Projection vs. Mercator Projection
The great debate of cartography centers on the controversy surrounding these two projections. Discover both sides of the issue and find out why it's really quite bizarre.
Township and Range: The United States Public Lands Survey
The checkerboard pattern of the land in the Western U.S. is no accident. Learn how and why the division into thousands of squares took place.
A Gallery of Map Projections
A fantastic collection of Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF) files of nearly every map projection under the sun. These black and white images are an excellent resource.
Types of Maps
Types of Maps: Refer to this article to learn about the different types of maps used in geography. Learn information about each map type and see an example of each from Geography at About.com.
Learn about the field of surveying and how one becomes a surveyor.