Maps and Directions

We all know the value of maps, especially men who don’t like asking for directions. And, of course, women, who are rapidly learning how to read maps. Maps can be used in several ways. They are useful in finding travel directions from one destination to another. They also help people locate what they are looking for. If you need to locate an electronic store in your area, your map can find it for you in an instant. In addition, maps help to understand an area. Most importantly, maps reduce your chances of getting lost and help you find your way around any area.

For geologists, there are geological maps that provide a wealth of information on the earth’s natural resources. Land elevations can be determined with topographical maps. Topological maps lack scale or distance and direction but provides useful information about the layout of a specific location. Relief maps are important maps that show landforms. Then of course there are road maps to direct you from one location to another.

Maps are represented with the four primary locations namely north, south, east, and west. They include longitudes, which are lines running from the North Pole to the South Pole, and latitudes, which are lines running across the map from east to west. These lines are called parallels, while the longitudinal lines are called meridians. Lines of latitude run parallel to each other, however, lines of longitude are not parallel to each other. Lines of longitude run 70 miles apart at the equator and converge at the north and south poles.

The equator lies at a latitude of zero degrees, and divides the earth into two hemispheres, namely the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. One the other hand, the Prime Meridian, divides the earth into the Western Hemisphere and Eastern Hemisphere. This line of longitude running through the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London, England has been established as the Prime Meridian.

Lines of latitude are numbered in degrees starting from the equator. The lines measure 90 degrees at the North Pole and 90 degrees at the South Pole. Lines of longitude are numbered from east to west up to the 180th meridian which is on the opposite side of the Prime Meridian. The meeting point of longitudes and longitudes are called graticules. These are used to identify locations on a map. Today several mapping algorithms are used to develop the best routes between two geographic locations. These are based on various factors such as distance, speed limits, and traffic congestion. These sophisticated maps are available on popular driving direction sites like Mapquest, Google Maps, and Yahoo Maps, among others.