A political map shows us how people divide up the world into political units like countries. A political map can be general showing only countries or detailed showing smaller cities and regions of those countries. The countries are often different colors and separated by border lines so you can read the map more easily. You probably would not be able to actually see a country's border, even if you were standing on one!
Political maps usually show the capital cities of countries and states and many major cities. Capital cities are generally shown with large, dark print and are marked with a big star or circle. Smaller cities are written in smaller print and are marked with a dot.
Most maps have what is called a key or legend. The key or legend is a box in the corner which tells you what all the map's symbols mean. For a political map, the key may show a star and tell you that it represents a capital, or the key may show a thick black line that represents a political border (the kind of border you can't see).
Once you zero in on your destination city, the political map will no longer be useful. A street map is what you will need to help you get around town. Street maps show the layout of a city with streets, buildings, parks, and districts. Many times street maps show landmarks and points of interest. On the map, street names are written on the street to help you find your way. Big roads and highways are marked by thick black or double lines. Smaller roads are marked with thin lines.
Using the information you just learned, try these two investigations navigating through some city streets. To start, click on either of the pictures below. The first picture is of a city in France; the second picture is of a city in Italy. Have fun and good luck!
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Friday, July 17, 1998.
This document was last modified on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 11:51:12.