O. S. Maps 02
What colour are very high mountains on atlases?

O. S. Maps 02

This KS3 Geography quiz asks questions on O.S. maps. The first maps that were drawn were more like pictures of a place. They were not always particularly accurate and it was not possible to include a lot of data on them. This is why mapmakers decided to use symbols. Ordnance Survey maps use many different symbols and can pack a huge amount of information into a small space. Different types of information are represented in different colours in order to make it easier and faster for you to read the data from a map.

The landscape is three dimensional but the surface of a map is only two dimensional. To solve this problem, the O.S. use contour lines. These are thin brown coloured lines on a map that link points of the same height. The reference point is the mean sea level at Newlyn in Cornwall. By looking at how the contours are arranged, you can get an idea of what it will look like when you get there. For example, you can see if there is a valley or a spur, a steep slope or a gentle slope and so on.

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  1. The difference in height between contours is the what?
    Usually at 10 metre intervals, sometimes 5 metres, depending on the scale of the map
  2. What do widely spaced contours tell us?
    The closer the contours the steeper the slope
  3. The O.S. symbol for a picnic site looks like what?
    It looks like a folding picnic table seen from the side
  4. Which of these is a type of map scale?
    A non-linear scale is sometimes used in atlases - Mercator's projection is a good example of a non-linear map scale
  5. On an O.S. map what do the letters MS mean?
    MP is milepost
  6. Which of the following does not have an O.S. symbol that resembles the real thing?
    It's like a rectangle combined with a circle and filled in with a red colour. That makes it stand out on the map
  7. Tourist information symbols are always what colour?
    This makes it easier for tourists to pick out places of interest to them like campsites and viewpoints
  8. What is not a reason for using symbols on a map?
    Maps are intended to give the user as much data as possible
  9. Which saying helps us remember compass points from the top in clockwise order?
    North, east, south, west
  10. Atlases use what colour for very high mountains?
    O.S. maps do not use colour to show heights of features

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