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Elements of a Map

Elements of a Map for Class 2 Science

The presentation of an area of Earth on a flat surface to show cities, countries, states, mountains, rivers, etc is called a map. Maps have been of great use for a long time.
The following concept will introduce the learners to the different elements of a map.

After reading the concept, students will be able to answer the following:

  • What is a map?
  • What is a political map?
  • What is a physical map?
  • What are cardinal directions?
  • How to use a map key?

Each concept is explained to class 2 students using descriptions, illustrations, and concept maps. After you go through a concept, assess your learning by solving the two printable worksheets given at the end of the page.
Download the worksheets and check your answers with the worksheet solutions for the concept Elements of a map provided in PDF format.

What is a Map?

  • A map is a drawing used to study the surface of Earth on a flat area.
  • It shows us rivers, mountains, roads, localities, rail tracks, roads, localities, markets, hospitals and many more.
  • A map helps us to locate different countries, continents and places.
  • Maps are of the following two types—


    a) What is a Political Map?

    These maps help us to locate different continents, countries, cities and districts as it is marked to show their boundaries.



    b)What is a Physical Map?

    These maps help us to locate mountain ranges, forests, rivers, oceans, deserts etc. They are not marked to differentiate areas, cities or places.

Directions in a map:

Directions help us to locate different places on a map.


a)What are Cardinal directions?

  • There are four cardinal directions, and they are also called cardinal points.
  • The four main cardinal directions are north, south, east and west.
  • These directions are also denoted as N, S, E and W.

b)What are Ordinal directions?

  • There are four ordinal directions.
  • The four ordinal directions are also known as intercardinal directions.
  • The four ordinal directions are north-east, north-west, south-east and south-west.
  • Each ordinal direction is present in between two cardinal directions.

How the cardinal and ordinal directions are checked?

  • We can check directions with the help of a compass.
  • Every compass has a needle which shows the direction.
  • All four cardinal directions are mentioned in the compass.
  • When placed on a flat surface needle of a compass shows the north direction.
  • Opposite north is south, west to the left of north and east to the right.
  • Ordinal directions can be identified based on the position of cardinal directions.


What is a Map Key?

  • Keys are the symbols used on the map to depict a particular place or feature.
  • Due to the keys, we can identify a variety of important areas in a locality.
  • There are different types of keys. Some of them are as follows—


New Words:

Continents: A massive landmass is called a continent. The land on Earth is divided into seven continents.

Feature: A characteristic or trait.

Locality: An area or neighbourhood.


Did You Know?

  • The North and South poles of the Earth remain covered with snow throughout the year.
  • In all compasses, the needle pointed to the north side is always red in colour.
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