M. Myridis1, A. Christodoulou2, E. Kalyva2, N. Karanikolas2, P. Lafazani2

1 - President of Hellenic Cartographic Society, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Department of Cartography, P.O. Box 439, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece

2 - Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Department of Cartography, Thessaloniki, Greece


The map constitutes an important communication tool for the first contact of child with the environment, as shapes the childs perception for the world and shows the territorial correlation between the territorial units and their real area.

All researchers agree that children at a young age (beginning of primary school) are able to understand maps, thus the study of childrens performance in reading and using maps is very interesting for cartographical educators. Very important for them is to understand how young children notice subjects like spatial representation, scale, direction, map symbolization, topographic and thematic maps, etc.

For example the understanding of scale, that prerequisites the perception of spatial associations between the map and the real world and the ability to use a coordinate system in reading a map, is the key to understand a map properly. Also, the presence of graticule in a map helps the children to understand the spatial information and the exact position of a point.

Afterwards the endeavour of children to create on their own a map of familiar places and later of wider areas is one of the main points of this research. The correlation between the map symbols and the real features that children make and the difficulties that they encounter -when they try to represent the real world- leads to a lot of conclusions on the way that they notice subjects relative to cartography.

Childrens perception of maps depends on a lot of factors like age, social and family environment, intelligence, etc.

The present paper will summarise the literature about the perception of children in relation to maps.