A mapping exercise is a cartographic procedure used to evaluate an area for the creation of a map. A successful map should indicate natural land formations and other areas of interest or concern.
The mapping process uses patterns of data that are visually represented on the map using symbols, colors and graphics. Mapping exercises are usually carried out by cartographers, geographers and geographic information specialists.
Often, an area must be mapped when planning construction, exploration or navigation of the environment. This way, the map serves as a blueprint and guide for urban planning, environmental impact assessment or other procedures. The mapping exercise should result in an understanding of the area's major features. For example, topographic maps evaluate both the cultural and physical characteristics of the area.