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There are many things to learn about maps. In finding out the types and how to read maps, one will realize how useful these can be

What is a map? A map is a graphical representation of the earth surface. It is a simplified depiction of a space, a navigational aid which highlights relations between objects within that space. Most usually, a map is a two-dimensional, geometrically accurate representation of a three-dimensional space.

Maps have features to help understand and read these. The features are located on the boundaries or just outside the maps. Maps normally share common features but some may be omitted depending on map types and uses.

A map is a representation of the earth’s surface and most of its features such as roads, buildings and vegetation. These features are represented by symbols and colors on maps. 

Below are typical symbols that can be found on maps:

In measuring road distance on a map, use the scale bar. First, get a thread or a string. Second, mark your point A and point B. Third, measure the distance from point A to point B by scaling along the road, following every turns and curves, using the string. Fourth, when you reached point B, cut the string. And lastly, hold the string against the scale bar and count the number of intervals that the string has covered.
If the entire length of the string covers four points of the scale and the scale has a five kilometer interval, just multiply the number of points by five. You will get 20 which means the road distance from point A to point B is 20 kilometers.

Topographic maps show the earth’s natural features like mountains, lakes, rivers and man-made structures like roads, buildings, and dams. Data on ground elevation is a necessary feature of this map.

Thematic maps show a generalized representation and description of a particular theme such as forest, soils, population, land use, land cover, geology, climate, mineral resources, and tourist zones. These maps provide information for management and development activities of the government and private sectors. Examples of thematic maps and their definitions are:

Land condition maps show areas prone or susceptible to natural calamities like floods and earthquakes. These maps show land form classifications, ground elevations and also the locations of the organizations and facilities for relief operations.

Land cover maps depict different land or vegetative covers and provide information for land use management, planning and resources management.

Land use maps show actual land use as commercial, industrial, residential, and agricultural areas.

Cadastral maps exhibit the location of land boundaries portraying the subdivision of tracts into smaller parcels. This type of map determines the land description for incorporation in leases, deeds and other legal instruments. It also depicts the location of streets, sewers, water lines and other minor drainage structure. It is an official register of 
quantity, value and ownership of the real property.

Route or road maps illustrate the location of highways, avenues, streets, minor roads, intersections and other structures like a cul de sac (dead end) and islands of major and minor thoroughfares in a certain vicinity.

Tourist maps are multi-colored maps showing the location of national parks, historic spots and other places that may be of interest to tourists.

Soil maps are multi-colored maps showing the soil types in an area.

Mineral maps depict the position of ground works and surface structures of mines; position and direction of tunnels and shafts; and the surface boundary of adjacent properties.

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system for capturing, storing, querying, analyzing and displaying geospatial data. The term geospatial implies a subset of space which is applied specifically to the surface and near surface of the Earth.

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Do you produce road maps?

NAMRIA produces topographic maps that are used as base maps for other thematic maps like land cover, land condition, land classification, cadastral, etc. In addition, we have digital data of road maps available. This data comes from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

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