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All About Maps

All About Maps - By Felicia

Longitude lines are lines that run from the North Pole to the South Pole. These lines separate the earth into invisible slices that, when trying to plot coordinates, help you with measuring east and west. Longitude lines also separate the eastern and western hemispheres. The 0 degree longitude line is called the Prime Meridian.

Latitude lines are lines that run from left to right. They separate the earth into thin slices that, when trying to plot coordinates, help you with measuring north and south. Also, they separate the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The 0 degree latitude line is called the equator.

Alphanumeric coordinates are coordinates that consist of a letter and a number, such as B7 or C3. These are used to provide a general location on a map. These are not used very often, except usually on atlases.

Hemispheres are half of a sphere. The hemispheres are Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, Eastern Hemisphere, and Western Hemisphere. Usually, you are in 2 hemispheres at once, but sometimes, you could be in 3 or even 4!

A distance scale is, well, the scale! If a map were life-size, there would be no point to the map, obviously. So, a distance scale would be something like 1 cm = 200 km. And then, when you measure distance, you make an input-output machine. 0.5 cm = 100 km, 1 cm = 200 km, and so on.

A physical map shows all the physical features of a map such as mountains, rivers, etc. A political map shows the political borders of the countries. This is the one we primarily use to measure distance and map coordinates. A thematic map displays a specific theme such as temperature or population.

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