002 - Map Skills
How do we read maps?
What can maps tell us?
Activity One - Maps as a form of Cultural Identity
We often think of historical maps being used as a window into the culture of a country but can maps still do that today?
Look at the images and then watch the Ordnance Survey clip in the 'Useful Resources' box below and suggest how culture can impact the development of a map and therefore how that place can be viewed. Write your ideas on lined paper.
Write a short piece (no more than 200 words) justifying whether imagination or reason has had the greatest influence on the development of maps? Or do they go hand in hand?
Ordnance Survey - 1745 and still going
Maps were often initially developed so that military strategy could be created. As they still are today. Although the average person can enjoy a detailed map top explore an area either on foot or from a far. What is recorded on maps can tell us about a country's or areas rich history. It can make us question about the shape of the landscape, how it was formed or even why a place is called a certain name. Ultimately. the ability to question is key.
Activity Two - Skills
As we have now explored, maps can help to inform us of what a place is like. It is an amazing piece of art to create something so accurate and detailed. But can they be misleading? The creators of maps have made decisions on what to include and what to leave out. For us to be able to evaluate maps we need to have the skills to read them.
On a first glance maps can look quite completed to read but once you 'crack the code' then what they show can suddenly come to life. Your starting point should always be to look at the key which is often placed on one side of the map and on occasion it can be on the back. Each country has created its own symbols for features but there are some commonalities between them. Contour lines are often orange-brown lines on a map that show the height of the land. The same heights are joined together to create a ring. There can be a 'spot height' which is often represented as a black dot at the highest point of the hill or mountain. Contours not only show the height of the land but they can also help you to identify specific natural landforms such as glacial valleys, cirques or cliffs. We don't often think about the scale of a map when we look at our phones to see how long it will take to get somewhere, but scale is an important feature to understand. The smaller the scale on a map the more detailed it is. If you have completed the International Award scale would have been vital to estimate how long it would take to get to certain key check points or paths along your route. Scale can be represented in different ways. You will be given two different types of maps - one showing an area of Switzerland and one for the UK and possibly a completely random one.
Draw out the symbols for the following features from the maps you have been given:
Road - small
Identify the highest point on your map using the contour lines and spot heights.
Watch the YouTube clip and write down the three ways that scale can be represented on a map.
Go back to your maps and write down the scale for which they have been drawn and explain what that means.
Understanding Map Symbols
Activity Four - Grid References
Grid references are used to pinpoint places that you may want to get to. Four-figure grid references get you to the square that you want the point of interest is in and the six-figure will get you to the more precise point, but how do we read them?
Watch the two YouTube clips below and explain how you take a four and six figure grid reference.
Take the Peak District map out again (if you have a different map you will be given separate grid references) and find what feature or point of interest can be found at the following grid references:
4 Figure Grid References
6 Figure Grid References
You now know how some basic map skills so what I would now like you to do is to create a route of your choice from one of your chosen maps. You are going to describe how to travel along the route using compass point directions (to turn in specific directions), grid references (to get from specific points or to say where to turn), scale (to show distance) and the symbols so we know what to look out for. The key requirements are below and you need to write your routes on paper.
Your route needs to be 5km long.
It needs to go past something of interest.
You need to include at least six grid references.
You will be buddied up with someone else in the group.
Give them your route and they will 'walk' along it using the map.
Did the route go where the designer thought it was going? Where you able to follow their route? - Class discussion.
Activity Five - It's a Puzzle
We are now going to using 'The Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book' to explore how different places are viewed and to begin to question the importance of space and names.
Map One - 'An entirely new and accurate survey'
Map Three - History - 'Countering the Zeppelin Threat'
Map Eighteen - What is in a name? - ' You won't find any boats here'
Map Thirty-Three - Innovation - 'From ruts to pot-holes'
'The Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book' by Ordnance Survey