Map Work


Walk before you run!

  • Four figure grid reference: e.g. Dot is at 4665
  • Six figure grid reference: e.g. Dot is at 463654
  • Compass points for direction


  • Measure from sea level in meters
  • Each contour is in regular intervals
  • Spot heights e.g. 398 on trignometrical points
  • If contours wrap around around in circles in increasing height, it is a hill/mountain
  • Gradient = Vertical Interval (difference in height) / Horizontal Equivalent (horizontal distance)
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Recognising Patterns

Settlement patterns: isolated, dispersed, nucleated or linear

Street patterns and residential types:

  • Straight roads normally indicate terraced housing
  • Curved roads and cul-de-sacs often represent suburban privately owned detached and semi-detached houses.

Natural advantages of a settlement: on flat land, near a water source, on the coast, near farmland, near natural resources, defensive location

Human locational factors: good road links, schools, hospitals, jobs, leisure facilities

Natural features: bays and headlands, river valleys, mountains, mangroves and forests

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Recognising Patterns

Land uses: agricultural, residential, industrial

Areas main functions: tourism, educational, fishing

Features that may have promoted a particular function: e.g. tourism may have been promoted by:

  • Natural features: beaches, the sea, mountain scenery, waterfalls
  • Human features: museums, historical buildings, water parks, golf course, hotels and restaurants

Humans interaction with nature: building a dam on a river, building groynes on a beach or draining wetlands 

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Field Sketches and Photos

Reasons you would make a field sketch:

  • No map of your study area exists
  • The map of your study area contains too much detail or not enough detail
  • You do no have a camera to take a photograph
  • You want to remove some detail from the view you are drawing
  • You want to labels or annotations to the view you are drawing

Describing photographs:

  • Describe the structure (building) shown in the photo.
  • Describe the type of vegeation
  • Describe the geographical features shown
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  • Line Graph: Used for showing continuous data. Non-variable data goes on the x axis and the variable data on y axis.
  • Bar Graph: Used for showing data that is related but not the same i.e. it is not constant. Normally the frequency goes on the y axis and types of data on the x axis.
  • Pie Chart: Good for showing related data that calculated out of 100%. Usually the largest piece of data comes first.
  • Divided Bar Graph: Good for showing related data that adds up to 100%.
  • Histogram: like a bar graph, but only show one type of data
  • Scatter graphs: good for showing the relationship between two pieces of variable data
  • Isoline maps: often used for showing weather data like temperature
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  • Triangular graphs: used for showing information where three related pieces of data equal 100% e.g. primary, secondary and tertiary data
  • Radial (kite) graphs: good for showing related data that can all be scored out of the same score. e.g. environmental index of different areas
  • Wind rose graphs: good for showing wind speed and wind direction
  • Kite diagrams: good for showing transects e.g. velocity change across a river’s cross section
  • Flow (system) diagram: Can be used to show things like the positive or negative multiplier effect i.e. on factor that causes another factor. They can be also used to show more complicated relationships like the hydrological cycle.
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When describing graphs:

• Look for trends e.g. positive/negative correlation, staying constant, or data fluctuating

• Look for anomalies: pieces of information that do not fit the general trend

• Mention the start and finish figure

• Mention the highest and lowest figure

• Always uses figures (evidence) to support your description

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