map, conventionalized representation of spatial phenomena on a plane surface. Unlike photographs, maps are selective and may be prepared to show various quantitative and qualitative facts, including boundaries, physical features, patterns, and distribution. Each point on such a map corresponds to a geographical position in accordance with a definite scale and projection (see map projection). Maps may also represent such comparative data as industrial power, population density, and birth and death rates. The earliest European printed maps (2d half of the 15th cent.) were made from woodcuts; maps are now reproduced by several processes, including photoengraving, wax engraving, and lithography. See also chart.
Sections in this article:
- Cartography in the Sixteenth through Eighteenth Centuries
- During the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
- Ancient Mapmaking
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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