What is Political Map Features Purpose and Other types of maps

Political Map

political map is a map used by geography , which can be both of the entire earth’s surface and of its subdivided parts . It is a type of map that has the characteristic of indicating the limits between States , as well as other administrative and territorial units .

In general, political maps do not take into account geographical or settlement elements , such as the type of terrain, settlement networks, route or communication lines between them, railway systems and other data that can. appear on other types of maps .

political comes from the Latin politicus , which means of the State .

This tells us that a political map is a map whose most relevant data is related to the administrative organization of the territories or States that comprise it.

What does a political map contain?

In the first place , it should be noted that all maps are made in a certain scale . Political maps are those that indicate the administrative division of territories and that are carried out through a differentiation of colors. Thus, on a world political map, each country is represented by a color and the lines that form the territory are its political boundaries. In many cases, national borders are related to geographic features of nature.

On a political map, it is possible to visualize the outline of a country and understand the limits of its political sovereignty , as well as the neighborly relations between countries that border it. On the other hand, political maps include the administrative division of nations, for example, into autonomous regions, provinces or departments.

Major cities are marked with a dot and the capital appears with a larger dot. In some cases, these maps present additional information such as major highways or ports. The information geographic may also appear in the political maps, but always in the background.

Features of a political map

To begin with, it should be noted that maps are inexact by nature, since the perfect conversion of the Earth’s surface , which is a spherical ellipsoid , into a rectangle or any two-dimensional square surface is impossible .

Starting from this clarification, we can say that, according to political geography , there are three fundamental aspects of a map :

  • Projection: it is a representation system that proposes an ordered relationship between the points of the earth’s surface, as we mentioned, ellipsoid and spherical, and those of a flat or two-dimensional surface, such as the map. These points are located with the help of a network of meridians and parallels. By choosing the correct projection, it is possible to reduce the distortion that will naturally occur in some areas of the map. In general, the one most used is the so-called Mercator Projection, whose greatest distortion is located in the social networks and forums are excellent tools. They facilitate the meeting of materials, courses and people who study the area surrounding the poles.
  • Scale : is the proportional relationship between the actual size of an object and its size in a drawing intended to represent it In our case, a map has to show the area corresponding to your area of ​​interest, and for this reason it does not have to be very large or very small. The most important thing is to fulfill the purpose of the map, which is to offer clarity about what it shows.
  • Symbols and legends: on a map, these are responsible for marking (the symbols) and explaining (the legends) what is presented within a map. Generally, the legend is accompanied by each of the symbols that were used on the map, and then they explain what each of them means, to guarantee the correct understanding of each of the elements. In the case of a political map, they usually represent the various characteristics regarding the politics and administration of each area, region or territory.

Pupose political map

Its main purpose is formative and educational, since political maps are studied in subjects such as geography and history. The geography of a country conditions its political situation, as both areas of knowledge (geography and politics) need maps as tools. Thus, to understand a political map it is necessary to become familiar with the corresponding physical or geographic map.

The study of a political map allows us to understand the geopolitical situation of a country, that is, how a country projects itself in the world. It must be remembered that the history of nations is conditioned by their geographical location and their political borders.

Finally, comparing political maps with other maps (eg geological, climatic or topographic ones) facilitates the overall understanding of a country.

Influence of political maps on colonial powers.

When some States became independent from the colonizing powers that oppressed them, in many cases, they did so respecting the territorial delimitation with their colonial borders , which in almost no case were the same borders that proposed or respected the ethnic origins of those places.

Thus, political maps gave greater influence to the colonial power over the territories , in a way further legitimizing the claims of the States that took territories from diverse cultures, denying their history and their original territorial divisions .

Do political maps change?

Geographic space is constantly changing, as are societies and policies, and how humans think and act in the territory. In any case, and answering the question, political maps of course change , in fact despite the fact that our country has maintained its structure in 19 departments for more than a century, there are countries that are continually dividing or separating. 

Such was the case of the USSR and Yugoslavia a few decades ago, or that of North and South Sudan much less time ago.

Other types of maps

Just like the political map , within geography there are very different types of maps , which are generally divided by the aspects that stand out about the territories , so the choice of each of them will depend on the use or need of each particular case.

Some examples of maps are:

  • Geographic maps: they are dedicated to providing the information that is considered most relevant, generally regarding the physical elements of each of the territories. This type of map is one of the most used, and includes scale representations of surfaces , both those of nature and those that were built throughout human history.
  • Topographic maps: they are characterized by highlighting the differences between the heights and reliefs of the various surfaces of the Earth. On these maps, it is common for different colors to delimit the spaces corresponding to various types of geographical features.
  • Geological maps: they are similar to those mentioned in the previous item, since they represent elements of nature. The difference is that the geological map does not emphasize so much the relief and shape of the Earth’s surface, but rather the types of minerals that can be found in each of the territories. For this, they take into account both the minerals that are on the Earth’s surface and those that are below.
  • Climate maps: these attempt to mark the differences between the climates of each region. They do this by homogeneously coloring each social networks and forums are excellent tools. They facilitate the meeting of materials, courses and people who study the area with the same climatic characteristics.
  • Urban maps: these emphasize issues specific to urbanized areas. In these maps, the important thing is usually the circulation through these areas, which is why it is possible to find roads, crossing paths for vehicles and pedestrians, etc. In many cases, there is even nothing more than these data, with the exception of some elements of nature such as rivers or sea coasts.
  • Transit maps: they are a variable of those mentioned in the previous item, although they specialize much more in mapping public transportation routes for a specific place, generally a city.
  • Weather maps: these are intended to show what the phenomena related to meteorology are or will be in each of the regions, and are represented with symbols intended to mark things such as rain, storms or clouds, among others. The representations on these maps are usually simple.

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