Elements of a map
- Theme: the primary purpose of showing the location of either a single attribute or the spatial relationship of multiple attributes.
- Legend: Communicates the content of the map through colors, symbols, line patterns, shadings and annotations.
- Scale: The ratio between the distance on a map and its corresponding distance in reality (remember: small scale means a smaller fraction, thus a greater coverage of a surface; inversely large scale means a bigger fraction, therefore greater detail of a surface).
- Projection: A systematic construction of a plane two dimensional surface to represent features on a three dimensional surface.
- Metadata: The general description of the contents of a database.
When publishing a map, do not forget the T.O.D.A.L.S. essentials: Title, Orientation (i.e. landscape or portrait), Date, Author, Legend, and Source. Don’t be a sloppy cartographer!