Maps

Maps Run Slideshow

Without maps, we would be totally lost: We wouldn’t know how far apart continents are from one another, what features define different land masses – and even which subway line or road to take to get to where we want to go. Maps, for kids, takes a close look at these unsung works of art that give us direction, starting with the most ancient ones, like a rough clay tablet from Mesopotamia, dating back to 2000 B.C., that charted which plots of land belonged to which people. Then it’s on to the 15th century – the Age of Exploration – during which European adventurers fanned out across the world and claimed new lands for their kings. Cartographers were essential to these travels, and helped change some explorers’ wrong-headed notions about the geography of the Earth. For example, Columbus insisted that Cuba was part of mainland China – until humble mapmaker Juan de la Cosa produced the first world map to include the Americas.

Because the Earth is round, no flat map can accurately portray size and distance; this is where projections of maps come in. Kids will get a kick out of some of the weirdest-looking ones, like the Bonne projection, which is heart-shaped, and the Robinson, which looks like a jellybean. Technical advances in making maps, for kids, are explained simply, and the issue ends with a look at all the kinds of maps that help guide us today, from maps with ecological information to tourist maps, topographical maps, and more.

Without maps, we would be totally lost: We wouldn’t know how far apart continents are from one another, what features define different land masses – and even which subway line ...
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