A map is a diagram of a place. Maps provide visual representations of locations, and they highlight specific details such as landforms, roads and waterways. Large scale maps can show significant areas such as a countries or states. Smaller scale maps might show cities or towns. Even simpler maps can show specific locations such as a playground or a classroom. Some maps are drawn to realistic proportion but on a reduced scale. Many maps also include labels to help the reader understand what features represents. Create a simple map of your neighborhood, using paper, a ruler and regular or colored pencils.
Decide on the scale of your map. Think about how large your map must be to effectively represent your neighborhood. If exact measurements are important, choose a smaller distance to represent a larger distance. For example, use an inch to represent a block. If a street is six blocks long, for instance, you should represent the block as six inches long on your map. You can use grid-lined paper to help with this process. Keeping your map to scale helps show distances more realistically and helps readers compare the sizes of various features. If measurements are not important, decide how large to draw the outer boundary of your map so that you can fit all the aspects you want to represent.
Determine the features you wish to represent on your map. For instance, if you are drawing a map of your neighborhood, show the main roads and important landmarks, like the post office, fire and police stations, supermarkets and schools. Show any special areas of interest, such as playgrounds, ponds, shopping plazas or theaters. Depending on how detailed you want your map, you can add smaller details like gas stations or churches. Keep a list so you don't forget your ideas. Visualize the shape of the neighborhood. Look at a real map to help you see the actual boundaries as you prepare to draw the outline of your simple map.
Lay out blank or grid-lined paper. Use a ruler to help you draw the straight boundaries of your map where necessary. Consider the dimensions of your neighborhood, and try to create an accurate representation of the space and shape. Use pencil in case you need to erase any errors. Afterward, draw the key elements inside your map. Refer to your list of important landmarks. Label these features, where possible. Give your map a title.
Symbols and colors help represent details on a map. A map key explains what the symbols or colors stand for. For example, you could color grassy areas green, and roads black. On your neighborhood map, you could use smaller symbols to represent a collection of items. You could use small a "x" to represent houses on a street, for instance. You could use apples to represent supermarkets. Draw the key inside a small box outside the map. Label each color or symbol inside the key clearly, and then add these details to your map.