Things to consider when choosing a wall map
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- Size comes first!
- Politically colored maps
- Physically colored maps
- Do you need an outline map?
- Flags are educational
- Detail vs. readability: An important tradeoff
If you have a limited space, measure it before you order. We want to help you avoid a return. If you need more information to help you choose confidently, contact us! We give sizes in inches, left-right first. If you are thinking about ordering your map in a frame, remember that the shipping cost takes a steep jump when the size exceeds about 4 feet wide.
Politically colored maps show states, countries, counties or towns in contrasting colors. Each color does not have its own meaning, theyonly make it easy to distinguish boundaries. Somepolitically colored maps only emphasize boundaries in contrasting colors. Some political maps depict shaded relief as well. This is the most familiar and popular style for convenient reference.
Physically colored maps use color to impart information about the land. In this example, different colors represent different elevations. Other physical maps depict land use and vegetation, providing a portrait as it may appear from space. Boundary lines may be shown, but they are not emphasized by color as on a political map. This style may be best if the map will be studied intently- there is more information. However, you may take longer to answer a quick reference question, like “Are New York and Rhode Island neighbors?”
Outline maps are generally black and white with few or no colored elements. Depending on the coverage, states, counties, towns or zip codes may be outlined. These are ideal for display of the user’s own information. Areas you outline or color in receive great visual emphasis. Washable markers on laminated maps allow frequent changes and “what-ifs.” Sales territories, delivery zones and regional advertising strategies are examples of the territorial issues you can analyze and present. In many business situations, if you are not actually routing, an outline map may be best for you.
Some wall maps include illustrations of the flags of the countries or states. Will your map be helpin someone learn the countries or states? A small country may go unnoticed on a big map, but its flag will be no less prominent than the others. Most young children, even if not quite ready to read the names or interpret the map are fascinated by the flags and curious gabout their symbolism. Pictures of flags alongside the map are more than just decoration.
Detail versus readability. If all you want to do is decorate your wall, get whatever looks nice to you! Otherwise, think about where the map will hang, how easily users will get close enough to read the finer details, and how often the map will be referred to in this way. Huge maps allow for both large text and ample detail. Otherwise, you must settle on a tradeoff between ease of reading and quantity of detail. You may also observe that some maps employ a wider range of text sizes than others. This allows prominent features to be labeled in large type for quick reference while requiring you get closer only to read smaller, less frequently needed details.
One of the most detailed world maps is this Kummerly Frey Physical World map. Most people need to be closer than 3 feet to read “Uruguay.” The small text is only readable at
the distance you would hold a book. However, many more cities and towns are shown. Principal roads, railroads and ocean routes are shown. Not only are more rivers, lakes, islands, etc. shown and labeled on the map, they are drawn more precisely, as are shorelines and boundaries.