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Maps are useful because they help you find your way from one place to another.

Some maps let you see a long way but others show lots of detail. These are called different scales. The map of the UK is a small-scale map because things look very small whereas the map of New Ash Green is a large-scale map because things look bigger.

Maps use words to show you names of places, and symbols (little pictures) to show you where things are. For example, on the map of New Ash Green, the brown box with "PO" next to it is the post office.

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Some maps can also show hills and valleys. They do this with thin lines (usually brown or orange) called contour lines. A contour line is an imaginary line that show you how high the land on it is, so if you walked along a contour line you would never go up or down hill. Here is a map of a some mountains and valleys in Scotland. The blue lines are streams and rivers, the yellow line is a road, and the brown lines show you where the hill goes up. You can think of them like steps, but with the land smoothed in between them. Where the contours are closer together, the hill is steeper.