There is something magical about maps. Every type of map has a story to tell. They transport you to a place you’ve never seen, from the ocean depths to the surface of another planet. Maps are time machines, too. They can take you into the past to see the world as people saw it centuries ago, or they can show you a place you know intimately as it existed before you came along.

You don’t need to be a cartographer to know that maps are everywhere. The need for maps hasn’t ever been greater. Most people use maps every day and they want them to go beyond functional. No matter whether it’s getting simple directions or detecting climate patterns, people want maps in order to fully understand things.

Maps are actually the life blood of the discovery of the world. Since its simple beginnings, maps have achieved new ways to examine the world we live in. Modern day maps are a great platform to mix different details and ideas easily.

The beauty of mapping and cartography continues to change tremendously and new options for joining together knowledge with geography are a fun and imaginative way for you to explore history, science, geography, traditions, ideas, and many others.

Maps present information about the world in a simplistic visual way. By showing by showing shapes and sizes of countries, distances between places and locations of features They teach about the world we live in.

Maps, atlases, and gazetteers are essential tools to help you investigate your family tree. Maps may be either topographical (emphasizing land forms) or historical (emphasizing historical events) in nature, though either type can show cultural features, such as town and creek names that are important for research.

Public libraries and especially college and university libraries usually have good contemporary maps. Historical maps are sometimes more difficult to find. Genealogical and historical societies in the area you are researching are likely repositories for old maps. The Internet is also a good place to locate obscure maps.

What is a Map?

Simply defined, a map is a symbolic representation of selected characteristics of a place on the the World’s surface. Maps are one of the most important tools researchers, cartographers, students and others can use to examine the entire world or a specific part of it.

Maps can be classified into different types according to their purpose and content.

What is a Atlas?

An atlas is a collection of maps. An atlas typically contains maps of Earth or regions of the Earth such as Europe, Asia, etc. Atlases are traditionally in the form books (i.e., bound), but today atlases can also be found in multimedia formats. Many atlases contain maps of geographical features, political boundaries as well as social, religious, economic and geopolitical statistics.

Thus, an atlas may contain different types of maps including physical maps, road maps, climate maps, thematic maps, political maps, etc.

What Is a Gazetteer?

A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or directory, an important reference for information about places and place names used in conjunction with a map or a full atlas.

It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup of a country, region, or continent as well as the social statistics and physical features, such as mountains, waterways, or roads.

U.S. State Map Collection

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