Information from Maps

This GCSE quiz looks at information from maps. Maps are central to geography! It is therefore essential that you are able to gather information from them. A map is a representation of part of the surface of the Earth, but it can contain a huge amount of data. The simplest kind of map is a sketch map. A sketch map is generally not drawn to scale and conveys only a small amount of information e.g. it could show the roads that someone needs to follow in order to get to a particular location. During fieldwork, a geographer may use a sketch map to note the position of certain features e.g. along a stream or river, which will help them later in their study.

Accurate maps are produced by cartographers. They use specialised equipment to make their measurements. In the early days of map making, these measurements were not as accurate as they are now, so some of the oldest maps can look quite strange to our eyes.

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Maps of coastlines that were produced by the early explorers look vaguely like the real coastlines, but noticeably different to the accurate charts of today. The information they contained was relevant to the explorers such as possible places where they could go ashore, where they had encountered unfriendly indigenous people and so on.

As the science of mapmaking developed, map scales became increasingly accurate and cartographers used symbols to represent features of the landscape, buildings and so on. This allowed more information to be carried by a map, for example, maps of local parishes showing what land belonged to which person as well as the local tracks, paths, streams and other features were developed.

During the eighteenth century, the idea of drawing lines to join points of equal value became more widespread. By the end of the century, European maps with lines joining points of equal height were starting to appear. These were called contour lines and we take them for granted on modern maps.

Some of these old maps still exist and are a good source of information for geographers studying changes to the landscape over a period of time. In atlases, the use of maps was further developed and maps contained a wide variety of different information such as ocean currents, climate zones, population densities, agricultural and political zones and more.

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  1. Look at the map, it shows some of the main ocean currents of the world. Which of the following statements about the Canaries current is correct?
    Blue usually indicates that a moving air mass or water current is cold
  2. The map displays some of the key ocean currents of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Which of the following descriptions is NOT correct?
    These major currents are caused by differences in temperature in different areas of the oceans
  3. The map shows the percentage of urban populations living in slums. In how many African countries are 60 to 70 percent of the urban population living in slums?
    It is believed that over a billion people are living in slums and shanty towns
  4. Which statement about changes in global temperature is correct?
    Most of the world's glaciers are in retreat and each winter, a smaller area of sea at the two poles freezes over than in the middle part of the twentieth century
  5. The map shows the main vegetation zones of the world. Which of the following is NOT a true statement?
    Taiga is coniferous woodland and is in fact the largest terrestrial biome. A biome is an area of plants and animals that have common characteristics that are adapted to the climate. A biome can contain many different habitats and ecosystems.
  6. This map shows the HDI of most of the world's countries. For what geographical term is HDI an acronym?
    HDI is a measure of many factors such as literacy, life expectancy, access to health services etc
  7. This is part of a map created in 1854 showing cases of the deadly disease cholera in London. How many cases of cholera were there in total on Portland Street and in the work house?
    This type of map is called a dot distribution map
  8. Look at the map and decide which of the following is/are accurate?
    When looking at information on computer screens, the colours are sometimes not easy to see as different screens show colours that are slightly different to others - this is something that you need to bear in mind when gathering GIS data
  9. This map is an example of:
    A choropleth map is a map in which areas are shaded or filled with a pattern in proportion to the statistical variable being displayed on the map, such as population density
  10. Based on the information given on the map of land use in Bosnia-Hercegovina in which of these towns are you most likely to find BOTH wine making and timber production occuring?
    According to the map, mixed farming in Bosnia-Hercegovina includes vineyards so you are looking for a town near both forests and mixed farming. Out of the four towns given, Bihac lies on the border between an area where mixed farming and forest occurs

Author: Kev Woodward

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