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Thematic map

Type of map that visualizes data / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A thematic map is a type of map that portrays the geographic pattern of a particular subject matter (theme) in a geographic area. This usually involves the use of map symbols to visualize selected properties of geographic features that are not naturally visible, such as temperature, language, or population.[1] In this, they contrast with general reference maps, which focus on the location (more than the properties) of a diverse set of physical features, such as rivers, roads, and buildings.[2][3] Alternative names have been suggested for this class, such as special-subject or special-purpose maps, statistical maps, or distribution maps, but these have generally fallen out of common usage.[4][5] Thematic mapping is closely allied with the field of Geovisualization.

Minard's 1869 flow map of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812–1813. A very innovative thematic map from the 19th century.
Isarithmic map of minimum temperature used as plant hardiness zones.

Several types of thematic maps have been invented, starting in the 18th and 19th centuries, as large amounts of statistical data began to be collected and published, such as national censuses. These types, such as choropleth maps, isarithmic maps, and chorochromatic maps, use very different strategies for representing the location and attributes of geographic phenomena, such that each is preferable for different forms of phenomena and different forms of available data. A wide variety of phenomena and data can thus be visualized using thematic maps, including those from the natural world (e.g., climate, soils) and the human world (e.g., demographics, public health)