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How to buy maps
A map buying guide
When deciding how to buy a map, there are a wide variety of prices, styles and sizes to choose from. Many important considerations should be kept in mind, such as how the map will be used, the map design and the map features.
>> Consider how the map will be used
When considering how to buy a map, keep in mind your intended purpose. For example, here are four common map uses:
- Decorating: For some, a wall map may be the perfect home decor addition. Vintage prints of a special city or a large map of the world are also popular decor items. You could even pair your map with canvas wall art for a unique arrangement.
- Educating: Others may choose to use maps as educational tools. The benefits are many when it comes to using them to educate yourself or your children. Educational types of maps often feature climate zones, population density and ocean currents. These can be purchased in their traditional form and also in electronic form, perhaps for use on a computer or a gaming system.
- Collecting: A third map use is collecting. There are a variety of map styles to choose from for this purpose, including cultural landscapes, railroad maps and those depicting military battles. Antique collectibles from the 16th to 19th centuries can even be found, including maps of the states, countries, continents and world that were relevant to those time periods.
- Traveling: Finally, maps can also be used to plan travel adventures and to help you get from one place to another. Those used for this purpose are typically very detailed and provide you with local and regional information. They might even be updated regularly if they are electronic.
>> Consider the style
Another consideration when deciding how to buy a map is the particular map style that you are interested in. Wall maps in their original designs can make beautiful additions as part of your art and wall decor. Original styles often have a rougher paper texture, which could add just the right vintage touch to your home. Reproduction maps, however, can also be attractive additions to your overall design scheme. These types of maps are duplicates of the originals.
>> Consider the types of maps
There are many different types of maps available, so it is important to determine which one is appropriate for your situation and needs.
- State maps: These can provide you with a wealth of information about your state, such as its capital, largest cities, population and land area.
- Country maps: These are available for over 200 countries and often come in various languages.
- World maps: These include the earth's entire surface. There are two kinds of world maps: political and physical. Political maps outline territorial boundaries, and physical maps highlight geographical features.
- Estate maps: These are commissioned by landowners and highlight their particular pieces of land. Map features usually include the fields and buildings on the property.
- Geological maps: These are specially made to detail geological features such as rock units, fault lines and lineation.
- Green maps: These are environmentally friendly maps. They showcase sustainable, natural and cultural resources including heritage sites, businesses that are environmentally conscious, recycling centers, toxic waste sites and community gardens.
- Nautical charts: These include maritime areas along with adjacent coastal areas. Depending on how the map scale is designed, the chart may include details for the coastline, water depths, tides and man-made structures like bridges, harbors and buildings.
- Pictorial maps: These are also known as panoramic maps or illustrated maps. They range from simple maps that include animals, people and buildings to more sophisticated 3-D designs.
- Treasure maps: These can be fun, especially for the little ones in your life, because they mark the location of buried treasure, a hidden location or a lost mine, whether real or imaginary.
>> Consider the date and author
Another important consideration is the date of the map and its author. You will want to verify that the time frame of the map matches its subject, date, author and condition. If these do not seem to match up correctly, the map may not be authentic. Older maps, for example, will have a centerfold, which will likely have tears along it. Most will show signs of aging, including wear along the edges. The map's color application can also clue you in to its authenticity. Older versions were mainly done by hand with brush strokes, while modern maps are comprised of dots. These dots are noticeably visible with a magnifying glass.
>> Choose a framing style
Choosing a framing style is an important decision when it comes to how to buy maps. This is because, depending on the type of framing style that you choose, the long-term condition of your map may be affected. Framed canvas maps, for example, will stay fresh, crisp and clean for many years down the road due to the added protection. Canvas styles are another choice. These types of maps are designed in such a way that the canvas wraps around the edges in order to hide the framing. This allows for a frameless display. However, if you prefer a truly frameless style and are not worried about your map becoming damaged, you can also go with a loose style that is completely devoid of framing. Appropriate choices for this style might include antique, abstract, typographical, city and subway maps.
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