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Portal:Maps

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The Maps Portal

Political and physical world map from the end of 2005

A map is a symbolic depiction emphasizing relationships between elements of some space, such as objects, regions, or themes.

Many maps are static, fixed to paper or some other durable medium, while others are dynamic or interactive. Although most commonly used to depict geography, maps may represent any space, real or fictional, without regard to context or scale, such as in brain mapping, DNA mapping, or computer network topology mapping. The space being mapped may be two dimensional, such as the surface of the earth, three dimensional, such as the interior of the earth, or even more abstract spaces of any dimension, such as arise in modeling phenomena having many independent variables.

Although the earliest maps known are of the heavens, geographic maps of territory have a very long tradition and exist from ancient times. The word "map" comes from the medieval Latin Mappa mundi, wherein mappa meant napkin or cloth and mundi the world. Thus, "map" became the shortened term referring to a two-dimensional representation of the surface of the world.

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Featured map

Iberian Peninsula map
Credit: Robert Wilkinson
18th century hand-coloured engraved map of the Iberian peninsula depicting various topographical features of the land, as published in Robert Wilkinson's General Atlas, circa 1794.

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Digital surface analysis of the United States

Web mapping is the process of designing, implementing, generating and delivering maps on the World Wide Web. The use of the web as a dissemination medium for maps can be regarded as a major advancement in cartography and opens many new opportunities, such as realtime maps, cheaper dissemination, more frequent and cheaper updates of data and software, personalized map content, distributed data sources and sharing of geographic information. It also implicates many challenges due to technical restrictions (low display resolution and limited bandwidth, in particular with mobile computing devices, many of which are physically small, and use slow wireless Internet connections), copyright and security issues, reliability issues and technical complexity. While the first web maps were primarily static, due to technical restrictions, today's web maps can be fully interactive and integrate multiple media. This means that both web mapping and web cartography also have to deal with interactivity, usability and multimedia issues.

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Selected biography

Captain Matthew Flinders

Captain Matthew Flinders RN (16 March 1774 – 19 July 1814) was one of the most accomplished navigators and cartographers of his age. In a career that spanned just over twenty years, he sailed with Captain William Bligh, circumnavigated Australia and encouraged the use of that name for the continent, survived shipwreck and disaster only to be imprisoned as a spy, identified and corrected the effect of iron components and equipment on board wooden ships upon compass readings, and wrote the seminal work on Australian exploration A Voyage To Terra Australis.

Flinders' name is now associated with many geographical features and places in Australia in addition to Flinders Island, in Bass Strait. His proposal for the use of iron bars to be used to compensate for the magnetic deviations caused by iron on board a ship resulted in them being known as Flinders bars

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WikiProject: Geography
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