Difference between physical map and political map

Main difference

The key difference between physical map and political map is that the physical map indicates the natural features of a place like mountains, plains of water bodies, etc. and the political map shows territorial features such as countries, cities, nations and their boundaries.

Physical Map vs. Political Map

The difference between a political map and a physical map comes from the purpose for which they were created. Before we continue talking about that, let’s first see what a map is. Maps are representations of landforms and geographical features on a sheet of paper with greatly reduced proportions. Maps are important as they can be used to locate a place in an unknown area and also to get directions to a particular location. To meet the requirements, there are different types of maps available. Two important types of maps are the political map and the physical map. A physical map is used to show the geographical properties of an area such as mountains and rivers, while a political map is one that shows the cities, roads, and borders of different countries. .

Comparison chart

Base Physical map Political map
Definition A map used to indicate the landscape shapes and bodies of water in an area. A map that helps represent the geographic boundaries, roads, and other similar features of an area.
Use It is used to display geographic properties. It is used to show territorial borders.
Characteristics raised or submerged Flat
colors used Muted colors are used. Bright colors are used.

What is the physical map?

The physical map or otherwise called relief maps would be the one that shows the natural qualities of a form of land and bodies of water that are observed in a specific area. In finer terms, it is a visual representation of what our earth looks like from space. On this map, bodies of water such as oceans, rivers, ponds, and lakes are represented in blue. Likewise, the brown color indicates hills and plateaus, different shades of green are used to represent elevations on a physical map. These maps help understand the variety of elevation in the area, mountains or plateaus in the area, rivers in that area, direction the river flows, etc.

What is the political map?

Political map is a map used by travellers, tourists or other people to find various areas, population, roads, highways, etc. of a specific area. The main feature of political maps is that it reveals administrative subdivisions of the land or other geographical areas such as continents, states, countries, cities, towns, and cities. Political Map These maps use large bodies of water such as oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers as a reference point. There are three other types of political maps, which are general maps, topographic maps, and specialized maps.

Key differences

  1. Physical maps represent geographic features such as mountains, deserts, bodies of water, and forests in a location, while political maps represent borders, cities, states, roads, and population.
  2. Political maps typically mark major cities and major bodies of water, however they do not indicate all bodies of water as physical maps do.
  3. Political maps are flat, on the other hand, physical maps are sometimes three-dimensional.
  4. Physical maps indicate how a place looks when viewed from above and thus contain only physical properties, while a political map shows how the world has been separated into countries by borders.
  5. Political maps are important for charities when distributing money or food during natural disasters as they can distribute things as needed based on the demarcations of a political map.
  6. Typically, muted colors are used to show features on a physical map, while bright colors are used on a political map to differentiate between different cities, states, and countries.

Final Thought

Maps are drawn from cartographers, who use different colors to highlight unique features on a map. While the physical map shows geographical features without taking into account individual alterations, a political map is one that suggests the human characteristics of an area.

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