11 Plus


Cartography is making maps. It is part of geography. How people make maps is always changing. In the past, maps were drawn by hand, but today most printed maps are made using computers and people usually see maps on computer screens. Someone who makes maps is called a cartographer.

Making a map can be as simple as drawing a direction on a napkin, or as complicated as showing a whole country or world. Anyone can make a map, but cartographers spend their lives learning how to make better maps.

For many centuries maps were usually carefully drawn onto paper or parchment. Now they are made on a computer which makes them look neater with accurate images.

Maps are of two main types: general maps with a variety of features, and thematic maps with particular themes for specific audiences.

General maps are produced in a series. Governments produce them in larger-scale and smaller-scale maps of great detail. Thematic maps are now very common. They are necessary to show spatial, cultural and social data.

A thematic map is a kind of map. Different from normal maps, a thematic map is designed to show the distribution of human or natural features or data. The information may or may not be related to geography.  For example, a map which shows population is a thematic map.

An early contributor to thematic mapping in England was the astronomer Edmond Halley (1656–1742). His first important map was a star chart of the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere, published in 1686. In the same year he also published something new, a map of the globe (Earth) in an article about trade winds. This map is sometimes called the first weather map.

Another example of early thematic mapping comes from London physician John Snow. Snow’s cholera map of 1854 is the best-known example of using thematic maps for analysis of data. His method anticipates the principles of a geographic information system (GIS). He started with an accurate map of a London neighbourhood which included streets and water pump locations. Onto this Snow placed a dot for each cholera death. The pattern centred around one particular pump on Broad Street. At Snow’s request, the handle of the pump was removed, and new cholera cases ceased almost at once. Further investigation of the area revealed the Broad Street pump was near a cesspit under the home of the outbreak’s first cholera victim.


Text adapted from Wiki.Kidzsearch.com, which is in the public domain.


Where does the text state most maps are seen these days?