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Basic maps

  • Atlas map
  • Base map
  • Sketch map

- main features/ simplistic view of the sample site

- Shows your interpretation of the site

- Based on observation and personal perspective so may be biased 

- May be hard to interpret if the person isnt a good drawer

- May lack detail

- Only shows one view point at one time

  • Annotated maps
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Ordanance Survey map

  • Allows you to find places on a large map, even with a huge scale by using grid references
  • Four figured grid references direct you to a 1kmX1km square on the map 
  • Six figured grid references are more precise and can direct you to the precise spot (100mX100m)
  • Every map has a scale so you can work out the distance between points
  • Altitude is shown by using a type of isoline called contor lines. The closer the contor lines the steeper the gradient, sometimes the altitude of specific spot heights is also given. 
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Proportional symbols on map

  • Use different symbols of different size to represent different quantities 
  • A key shows the quanitity each symbol represents (the larger the symbol the larger the amount)
  • The symbols may be circles, squares, semi-circles or bars 


  • Easy to compare areas on a map 
  • Easy to compare the symbol size from different times


  • The symbols dont give accurate readings of the data collected
  • If there are many readings in one area the map will have alot of symbols leading to confusion as some may overlap- innacurate readings
  • Concels the map underneath so accurate location of the symbols data collection point is impossible
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Flow lines on maps

  • To illustrate movement
  • Arrows from one place to another
  • Proportional symbol map as the size of the arrows show how many people are moving (the width of the arrow indicates flow rate and direction)


  • Show migration on a map 
  • Allow comparisons between countries/ areas 
  • Allow the visualisation of things that are moving


  • The arrows conceal the map and therefore accurate location of the arrows is imposible
  • The arrows represent data but dont give an accurate reading
  • Can be hard to draw
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Choropleth maps

  • Shows how something varies between different areas using colours of patterns


  • Straightforwad and easy to identify patterns/ clusters
  • Easy to see where an are lacks data


  • Assumes abrupt changes at boundaires - no gradient shown
  • Can hide anomalies in an area
  • Shows one variable only
  • Easy to make a mistake as the colours and patterns are similar
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Dot maps

  • Use identical dots to show how something is distributed across an area
  • Use the key to find out what quantity each dot represents
  • population of a city/region/country


  • Anomalies shown if there is alot of data sets
  • Clustering and patterns identifiable


  • Large amounts of data may lead to overcrowding
  • Areas may seem empty if the data is lower than the scale
  • Large dot values may be inaccurate
  • Obscure the map 
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Isoline maps

  • Isolines are lines on a map linking up all the places where something's the same 
  • On weather maps isobars show you where the same pressure is
  • Weather maps show the weather presently or in the furture for weather forcasting 
  • A cold front is represented by blue triangles
  • A warm front is represented by red cemi-circles
  • An occluded front is shown by alternating blue triangles and red semi-circles


  • Shows gradual changes- avoids abrupt changes
  • Can see clearly the boundaries
  • Can see areas of equal value


  • If the place is between the isolines you have to estimate the value
  • Assumes a gradual change exsits
  • Small numbers/ units may be hard to read
  • Only works with a large quantity of data
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Detailed town plans

  • Shows types of building and whats around them
  • Shows land usage
  • Shows density
  • Work out the type of area it is (car parks + shops = CBD)
  • Can be used when working out a suitable sample area
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