What Does a Physical Map Show?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 8, 2020 9:38:27 PM ET

A physical map shows the location of landforms and features like rivers, lakes, ocean, mountains, valleys, deserts and different land elevations. When making a physical map, different colors are used to indicate the different landforms and elevations.

The color blue is used for water sources like rivers and oceans. Dark brown can represent mountains and light green can indicate plains. To show different land elevations, a green color can indicate low elevations between 0 to 2,500 feet, while a higher elevation of about 7,500 feet is drawn in using the color brown.

Another type of map is a political map. These maps show countries, states, cities and the borders that exist between these different entities. Political maps do not indicate topographical features. However, large bodies of water like oceans may be shown on a political map.