Last updated: August 18, 2021

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Although GPS makes life easier, especially on a trip on wheels, there is no better feeling than taking maps and trying to understand them. This instrument is not only useful to locate us, but also to learn geography or to write down the places where we want to go. Today Monederosmart will teach you all about them.

We are grateful to have you here and for that reason we are always looking to improve our content, Monederosmart is a platform where you will get the most complete product reviews. From advantages, disadvantages, variables, to relevant information and buying factors, all in one place!




The most important

  • Maps are graphical representations of different parts of the world or of the world in general. Most of them are quite inexpensive and are not only useful for finding your way around, but also for learning about different features of where you live and where you want to go. Everyone should have one.
  • If you are here it is because you are interested in maps and you must know that there are a lot of variables of them. The physical ones that show the relief, the type of vegetation, the rivers and more. The political ones that show zones and their political delimitations. As well as thematic maps such as travel, topography, climate, communication routes, etc.
  • The use you are going to give them, their sizes, the edition and the presentation of the product or the format of the same, are the characteristics that you must take into account before buying maps. You will see that if you do, if you take our advice to the letter, you will be able to buy products that satisfy you 100%.

The Best Maps: Our Picks

Buying Guide: what you need to know about maps

There's nothing cooler than learning lots of details about a product or object you need to buy to use. That's why our buying guide brings you all sorts of useful information when it comes to buying a map - don't miss any of our titles!

Maps are a didactic tool to teach geography to your children. (Photo: Torwai Suebsri / 123RF)

What are maps, how are they used and what are their advantages?

Maps are graphic representations at different scales of the earth, a territory or an area within it. They are on a flat surface and have information about relief, climate, spatial distribution of countries, among other things. They are often used for site finding, terrain details and more.

Some maps require prior knowledge to be used, although travel maps have a legend that allows users to perceive what each symbol is within that territory. This is very useful for locating one place and finding others by taking the easiest route or the one that best suits your circumstances.

Advantages
  • Different sizes and colours
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to carry
  • Some are waterproof
  • Maps of all the territories of the world are available
Disadvantages
  • Difficult to read
  • Can be easily torn or broken
  • Takes time to trace a route

Physical, political or thematic maps - what should you look out for?

There is a huge variety of maps and each provides different features that are used in different professions, studies or simply as a guide. Before you buy maps, it is best to be aware of all their variants.

Physical maps. The physical maps are those that represent graphically the physical characteristics of a territory. In these you can see seas, rivers, contour lines, relief, among others. These maps usually use colours from green to brown to delimit the different surfaces, and from light to dark blue for the sea.

Political maps. There are political maps where you can see the division or borders between one territory and another, they usually use contrasting colours to make it easy to identify the areas. In these maps you can find rivers, seas and roads. These are ideal for teaching children about states, countries and more.

Thematic maps. In addition to the 2 previous ones, there are other maps with their own themes such as communication maps, maps for travellers (the most bought by tourists) that show the most popular areas and places of service, geological, topographical, meteorological, aerial; a wide range.

Physical Political Thematic
Graphic information Physical, natural, relief features Political divisions, states, countries, borders Climate, geological faults, tourist sites, transport, economy and more
Use of colours To differentiate relief, water, type of vegetation To identify zones and boundaries To differentiate and identify roads, hydrology, faults, zones, services, hotels, etc
Difficulty of interpretation Regular Easy Easy to difficult

Should I buy maps or a GPS?

This is undoubtedly one of the most frequently asked questions on the Internet, although some would put it as "Which is better, a map or a GPS? We believe that both can be useful, depending on the circumstance. While GPS is easier and faster to use, more efficient, there are many places that GPS cannot reach.

GPS can become obsolete, either because they are far away from the big cities or because they are in countries that are not open to such technology. These are the times when maps come into their own, and besides, you can't learn or teach anyone about geography on a GPS!

Did you know that John and Ashley Sims designed an inverted map (1998) to help women locate themselves better, due to differences in spatial identification they have with men?

Is it good to buy maps for children?

Many parents do not know what objects or tools to buy for their children that are didactic, dynamic and educational, maps may be what they are looking for. It has been proven that interaction with maps as a child increases knowledge and interest in geography.

There are maps for all ages and users

You can find on the market maps for children both physical, political and touristic, of course they are adapted according to the age of the user. With brighter colours, limiting elements and with large letters to make them easier to read.

Purchasing criteria

Every buyer wants to buy a top quality product and for that you don't need to be a genius, but you need to have the right tools and the relevant knowledge about the product. ReviewBox has put that together in one section: the buying criteria, which are factors that will help you choose the best maps.

Uses

The main criterion you should take when buying maps is to know what you are going to use it for. This aspect plays a determining role in which product to choose. The functions of the maps are varied, as well as the types that exist, for such reason we show you some of those uses.

Professional. Geologists, cartographers, engineers, explorers, climatologists, all of them and many others use maps as a tool in their work. Whether it is to see the conditions of a terrain, transport routes, routes to take and so much more. Professionals need everything from physical maps to political maps to thematic maps.

Didactic. Learning can be easier and more enjoyable if resources such as maps are used. Children have special editions for them, and adults have all kinds of information. Not to mention the interactivity of the different maps. You can learn routes, tear off countries or cities and more.

Location: No satellite connection for GPS? No problem, just pull out the map and see all the routes, services and shops near you. Plot the best route and have fun playing explorer. You will surely feel accomplished when you can read a map without any problems. The best way to do this is to use a tourist map.

Size

Not all maps are the same size and therefore not all maps are the same scale. You should choose maps according to what you think is the ideal size for the activities you are going to do with it, this is another relevant purchasing factor. Measure the surface you are going to put it on to make sure you choose the right one.

Small. If you want a small map that is able to fit perfectly in your diary, notebook or agenda, there are maps that can satisfy you with their dimensions ranging from 24 x 21 cm to 60 x 45 cm. You don't have to buy huge, if a small one works well for your work.

Medium. Medium maps are the most common for teaching, as they are the right size for working with children as well as teenagers. You can find in the shops all varieties of maps in the dimensions of 60 x 45 cm up to 85 x 60 cm.

Large. For in-depth studies and even for wallpapering the entire wall of a room you can count on the large maps. These maps can measure from 85 x 60 cm up to incredible dimensions of 3 x 3 metres and more. How cool is it to have your wall full of your favourite countries or regions?

Editing

Editing is something that not everyone pays attention to when buying a map, but it is important as you could either buy very useful maps or a total fiasco. Have you heard that maps are not accurate? This is because many editions were old, many of the proportions were wrong or even made up information.

One of the most common mistakes was to find that Greenland was the same size as South America - crazy! (This was corrected in the latest editions). Also, many country names and geographical limitations were out of date or non-existent. It is important to check the edition and manufacturer of these.

Did you know? Geologist Maria Seton travelling on the scientific vessel Southern Surveyor discovered that Sandy Island, near Australia, does not exist despite being on maps and even Google Earth

Product presentation or format

Although maps have not changed radically in recent years, it is true that they have had some adjustments and updates to their information, as well as different presentations to make them more user-friendly. Take a look at the following formats and decide which one you like best.

Children's. Children's format maps usually have large print, little information or are dedicated to an area that is easy to learn. Some have stickers to identify countries or animals to associate them with their place of origin. You can find them in different sizes, from small to large.

Scratch-offs. These are the maps that are in fashion, you can scratch or tear them to discover the different places in the world, country or state. They come in different colours, from blue to black. They can be used to keep track of the places you have visited or just to have fun with your loved ones with every scratch.

Decorative. There are maps that don't even have any information on them, they are just a decorative product in the shape of a continent or country. You will also find others formed by the names of each city or country. Framed, these can be an excellent object for your living room, office or bedroom.

Laminated. Laminated maps are the common ones, those that we all know and that have the beautiful quality of being hung in a place for study or consultation, or to be folded to the point of keeping it in our pocket. They are easy to break, although they are becoming more resistant and waterproof.

(Featured image photo: ammentorp / 123RF)

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