World Cultures Set One


the measurement of distance north or south of the Equator. It is measured with 180 imaginary lines that form circles around the Earth east-west, parallel to the Equator.


the measurement east or west of the prime meridian. Longitude is measured by imaginary lines that run around the Earth vertically (up and down) and meet at the North and South Poles.


an imaginary line around the middle of a planet or other celestial body. It is halfway between the North Pole and the South Pole, at 0 degrees latitude. An equator divides the planet into a Northern Hemisphere and a Southern Hemisphere.

prime meridian

the line of 0 longitude, the starting point for measuring distance both east and west around the Earth.


any circle drawn around the Earth that divides it into two equal halves. There are generally considered to be four hemispheres: Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western.


the distance of a measured area above sea level.


a visual explanation of the symbols used on the map. It typically includes a sample of each symbol (point, line, or area), and a short description of what the symbol means

political map

shows the geographic boundaries between governmental units such as countries, states, and counties. They show roads, cities and major water features such as oceans, rivers and lakes.

physical map

shows the natural landscape features of Earth. They are best known for showing topography, either by colors or as shaded relief.

topographic map

shows the shape of Earth's surface with lines of equal elevation known as "contour lines".

road map

primarily displays roads and transport links rather than natural geographical information.


a narrow strip of land that connects two larger landmasses and separates two bodies of water.


a piece of land that is almost entirely surrounded by water but is connected to the mainland on one side.


a flat, elevated landform that rises sharply above the surrounding area on at least one side.


a dry, grassy plain.