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Why maps are made
Cars have sat nav systems, mobile phones use GPS: maps are important in everyday life...
Cars have sat nav systems, mobile phones use GPS: maps are important in everyday life whether captured by aerial photography, satellite imagery or simply drawn. This unit looks at how we read and evaluate the information in maps and assesses the values embedded within them. From mental maps to public transport and street maps: how do they affect your life?
After studying this unit you should be able to:
- identify some of the important characteristics of maps in relation to their value to social science;
- recognise and give examples of how maps can influence our “view” of the world;
- describe the relationship between data and space as represented on a map.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Reading maps
- 2 Maps as everyday experience
- 3 Maps as knowledge
- 4 Reading maps
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Why maps are made
This unit looks at the prevalence of maps in everyday life, their uses and their importance. From mental maps to public transport and street maps it moves on to historical and history-making maps. Along with assessing the political importance of some maps it examines how we read maps and looks at how to evaluate the information contained within them. Although maps might seem to be objective and factual the unit looks at the values embedded in both maps themselves and our perceptions of them.
This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from An introduction to the social sciences: understanding social change (DD100) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Geography courses or view the range of currently available OU Geography courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 20th March 2012
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
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