What Can You Learn From Maps?
an Internet Treasure Hunt on Map Skills

created by Natasha Pollock
University of Richmond

Introduction | The Questions | Internet Resources


This is a Treasure Hunt for information about reading, using, understanding and making maps. Maps can provide us with all kinds of information. We can use a map to find directions, to discover characteristics of the land, to study weather patterns or populations of a specific region, to locate rivers, mountains, and lakes, or to find the distance between two places.

The answers to each of the following questions can be found through one of the eight Web sites about maps listed below. You might want to start by taking a quick look at all of the internet resources.

When you complete the list of questions and activities, your task is to solve the 'Big Question' by bringing together all of the new information you acquired in your hunt.


  1. What are three different types of maps? Describe what each one shows and what it is used for.
  2. Go to Find a Map at MapQuest. Type in your address, city, state, and zip code. What does the map of your address show you? What kind of map is this and how is it helpful?
  3. a. Who were the first people to ever use a map?
    b. What kind of map was this?
  4. Study the three maps of Salt Lake City carefully.
    a. What three types of maps are shown? Describe the similarities and differences between the maps.
    b. Then explain what information each one provides and when this type of map would be useful.
  5. a. How is elevation shown on a topographical map?
    b. How are man made and natural features identified on a topographical map?
  6. a. What is meant by projection?
    b. List the three different kinds of projection, and explain which parts of the world are most accurately mapped with each type.
    c. Why is the earth so difficult to map?
  7. When you have studied the Salt Lake City maps, go to the site 'Activity Sheet for Three Salt Lake City Maps.' Use the three maps to answer the questions on this on-line activity sheet.
  8. How are colors used on maps to show elevation and vegetation? What else can colors be used for on maps?

The Internet Resources

The Big Question