Know More: Maps


If you need to study geography, it is very essential to know the significance of colours used in a map. Let's take a quick peek into the world of maps.

A map plays a very significant role in the study of geography. It is a useful source of information and historical data.  


Did you know that the colours on a map have specific meanings? Five basic colours are usually used on maps. They are blue, green, red, brown and yellow. Political maps, which show man-made features (especially boundaries) usually use more colours than physical maps, which represent the landscape.
  • Blue: The colour blue is used to show water bodies like rivers, lakes, falls, streams and seas.
  • Green: The colour green represents greenery, vegetation and wooded areas. Dark green usually represents low-lying land with lighter shades of green used for higher elevations.
  • Red: It is a strong colour that is used for foreground. It is also used for warning signs and shows trunk routes on road maps.
  • Brown: The colour brown depicts relief features such as contour lines, contour elevations, spot elevations and land forms. For elevated areas, physical maps will often use a palette of light brown to dark brown to show higher elevations. Such maps will commonly use reds, purples or white to represent the highest elevations on the map.
  • Yellow: This colour is used to depict built-up area and urban areas.  
  • A good map will have a legend or key which shows what different symbols mean.
  • Without a north arrow, it is hard to determine the orientation of a map. 
  • Cartography or map-making is the study and practice of making representations of the Earth on a flat surface. Cartography combines science, aesthetics and technical ability to create a balanced and readable representation that is capable of communicating information effectively and quickly.