There exists a vast number of maps used as a representation of the earth. Unlike popular belief, map reading is not a difficult task. In fact, everyone must acquire this skill set. Here are a few tips on how to effectively read world maps.

Get the Right Map

Different maps are meant for varied uses. There are topographical maps, useful to show destinations such as camping sites. There are road maps, mostly helpful to drivers. Know what you wish to learn from the map and then choose one which suits your needs. Maps can be sourced easily from libraries, bookshops and online.

Know Its Orientation

Once you have the right map, make sure to check the orientation. This gives you the actual direction concerning the standard compass. Most maps are produced with the top side of the paper being the north. Be sure to check out for the north arrow found on the edge of your map though. Orientation also takes note of the primary latitude and longitude. These are the equator and the Prime Meridian. These help one to know the position and direction at a glance.

Consult the Legend

Learn to consult the legend. This is basically the key to the map. It helps one understand the map better. It usually describes the markings on the map, showing major landmarks and explaining further the use of various colors to show different features. You could say it helps make sense of the information depicted.

Use the Scale

It is also important to be keen on the scale. Standard maps are drawn to a certain scale. The scale used for every individual map is indicated on one corner of the sheet. The scale varies depending on the use of the map. A driver’s map will have a larger scale compared to that meant for a pedestrian. A scale helps one estimate the actual distance on the ground.