Map an essential Definition

A map key is one inset on a map that describes the symbols, provides a scale, and usually identifies the kind of map estimate used. Technically, the vital is part of the map legend. The an essential explains the symbols while the legend stop the key and other information.

You are watching: Explain the purpose of a key on a map

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Purpose the A Map Key

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

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

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The map key is the only method for girlfriend to understand for sure what the above symbol means.


Table of Contents


Definition

Map vital Symbols

When do a map, Cartographers (map makers) cannot compose out everything and make that fit. They need quick, an easy drawings, called map symbols, to replace written information. If you carry out not understand what ·, ∘, or ⊙ means, girlfriend cannot understand the map.

A map an essential tells you what all the signs on the map mean. Because that example, the tiny black dot, ·, method a city or village, the open circle, ∘, means a city the at least 75,000 world or the ⊙ method a state capital. A map an essential can phone call you that ★ usually mirrors a country’s capital.

Every map uses its very own map symbols, depending upon the details the cartographer wants to show. Map keys can display symbols for organic resources, populace centers, bodies of water, varieties of industry, and also much more.

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Here are some various symbols showing up 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 view in this perform of Google Maps signs above, various colors represent different categories. Eco-friendly for outdoors, orange because that dining and drinks, etc.

Map vital Examples

This map that Tennessee has a an essential that shows how the land is used. Tiny signs that look prefer pigs, plants, and stone show where animals are raised for food, where plants are grown, and where ores and also rocks space mined.

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This map vital uses herbal colors for natural formations however uses abstract shapes for person activity. It uses coded squares to present ruins and also archeological sites. It uses circles to stand for villages and also towns. The organic formations such as ice and also desert are displayed in colors the resemble the actual things.

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Legend Vs. Key

You might wonder what the distinction is between a map an essential and a map legend. The key makes the map understandable. The map legend usually has not just the map vital to the symbols however a most other advantageous information:

Map scale, in large units choose miles and kilometers, or little units like feet and metersMap projection name, favor Mercator, Cassini, Equirectangular, Gauss–Krüger, or SinusoidalMap publishing dateCartographer or agency name

Today we use both unit volume to median the exact same thing, but the map vital is technically found in the map legend.

Compass increased On A Map

The compass ~ above a map is dubbed a compass rose. The main duty is to allude north, yet it almost always mirrors the cardinal direction (north, south, east, and west). Periodically it speak the intermediary or ordinal directions, too: northeast, southeast, northwest, southwest.

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Unlike every the various other symbols top top the map, the compass rose does no usually appear in the crucial or legend. The is usually attracted in an unimportant area, choose an s or large desert, so that it does not cover locations. By tradition, many maps orient so that north is in ~ the top of the map.

On maps and nautical charts dealing with tides, sailing, and also coastlines, the compass climbed is additionally called a "windrose" or "rose the the winds." highly accurate nautical charts and also some topological maps present both true north and magnetic phibìc on the compass rose.

Map crucial Quiz

See if friend can uncover your method around a map by answering this questions.

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Define the “map key.”What is one more name because that a legend ~ above a map?Why is a legend important for many maps?What prize is beside Washington DC top top the map?What go a star usually typical on a map?Fill in the blank: a map"s ___________ describes its markings and also symbols.What map symbol for a mountain range is most often used?

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

You can define “map key” together the part of a map within the map legend the tells what the map signs mean. We use a map key and also map legend interchangeably.Another surname for a legend top top a map is a map key, although you can get an extremely picky and say the the legend stop the map crucial and other information.A legend is necessary for most maps because cartographers can not write whatever into the map, therefore they require symbols. The symbols call for a vital to recognize them.The star symbol, ★, is alongside Washington DC on the map.A star, ★ , usually way a country capital on a map.Fill in the blank: a map"s legend or key defines its markings and symbols.The map symbol for a mountain selection is regularly a tiny triangle or upside-down ∨: △ or ∧.

What friend learned:

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

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