What Is a Map Key?


Quick Answer

A map key is a table that explains the various symbols used on that particular map. Another term for the map key is the map legend.

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What Is a Map Key?
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Full Answer

Map keys are an important tool in helping one understand all the information contained in a map. Symbols used on maps are not always consistent or universal, so it is important for any good map to have a key. On a physical map, different symbols help the reader identify the topography of the area. On a city map, there are symbols that indicate the locations of schools and hospitals. Common symbols include colors, pictures and types of lines. A box in one corner of the map usually contains the map key.

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