Common Terms for Maps Dealers The following terms are used by map dealers when talking about different kinds of maps:
Physical Map: A map that shows the geographic features of an area, like rivers, mountains, forests and valleys. Once physical maps were hand-drawn, and these older antique maps command premium prices from map dealers. Today, most physical maps are created using up-to-date and accurate satellite imaging.
Topographical Map: Like a physical map, a topographic map shows geographic features. However, this map focuses on elevation differences in a landscape. Sometimes called a contour map, every line on a topographic map represent a height above sea level. Therefore, in places where the ground is flat, there are no lines, while hilly areas are covered with squiggly lines. These maps are often used by engineers and architects when they need precise elevation measurements.
Political Map: These maps show the boundaries of different countries, cities, and territories. Depending on the region, some political maps stay the same for hundreds of years, while others are constantly changing as countries rise and fall. Historians are particularly interested in older political maps.
Road Map: Before the days of GPS, people depended on road maps to get them where they needed to go. As their name suggests, road maps show all the roads in an area, from interstate highways to tiny back roads.
Climate Map: A map that shows the difference in temperatures over a large area. For example, a climate map of North America would be colored to show colder regions in the north, and warmer areas to the south.
Resource Map: A map that displays a region's resources, such as large timber forests or rich veins of coal underground. These maps are often used by energy companies to help them find and develop resources in new areas.