Difference Between Map and Globe (With Table)

Geography deals with the study of land and its components. Geography is all about understanding the earth and its complexities. Geography is made of two fields of study: human geography and physical geography. Human geography studies people and their cultures and interactions, while physical geography is the study of our atmosphere and natural environment.

A globe and a map are two instruments that can help us study the structure and geography of our world.

Map vs Globe

The difference between map and globe is that, while a map can represent any part of the land (a city, a two, a country or a continent), the globe always represents the world as a whole.

Comparison Table Between Map and Globe

Parameters of ComparisonMapGlobe
DefinitionA map is the graphical representation of geography consisting of land, sea, mountains and other physical features.A globe is a sphere that represents the earth as a whole.
DimensionsA map represents landscape in two-dimensional form.A globe represents the earth in a three-dimensional form.
Latitudes and LongitudesLatitudes and longitudes are shown as horizontal and vertical lines.Latitudes and longitudes are shown as circles and semicircles running around the globe.
RepresentationA map may represent the world or even just a part of it.A globe always represents the whole world.
Information and DetailsA map provides more information and details about the geography of a place.A globe is less detailed as compared to a map.

What is a Map?

A map depicts certain geographical locations in the form of pictures and general outlines. It shows us the aerial view perspective of an area. Maps can either be static or dynamic. Though maps are most used to show geography, they can also be used to represent any fictional worlds or spaces.

A collection of maps is called an atlas. Maps usually consist of distance, direction and symbols. A scale decided for each particular map decides the distance between places. A smaller scale is used for representing large areas and a large scale is used for representing smaller areas. The direction is decided by the symbols of North, East, South and West.

Mainly there are three types of maps namely a physical map, a political map and a thematic map. A physical map shows physical features like mountains, rivers, plateaus, etc. A political map shows the outlines of states, cities and towns while a thematic map shows roads, rainfalls and the distribution of industries.

The art of map-making is known as cartography and a map-maker is known as a cartographer. The most used maps in the world are roads maps. They are used to find a route to a particular destination. Google Maps is a widely used app that has an online collection of maps, a navigation system and even an offline map of the city you live in.

What is a Globe?

A globe is a three-dimensional spherical representation of the earth. A globe can also be a model of any other planet or a celestial body. A globe of Earth is known as a terrestrial globe while a globe of any other celestial being is known as a celestial globe.

A globe of Earth mainly shows two colours; brown and blue. The blue represents the oceans and other water bodies while the colour brown is used to represent land. The Latin origin of the word globe is ‘globus’, which means sphere.

We knew that the Earth was a sphere since the 3rd century BC. The earliest globe was invented around that time in modern-day Turkey. They were not as accurate as of the ones that exist today. Today’s globes represent countries, oceans and continents in their exact same size.

Globes rotate around an axis to which it is fixed. The axis aligns the globe in a slanting manner. The needles of the axis point to the north and the south pole respectively. Globes come in several sizes and can be made of a variety of materials like glass, plastic, etc. 

Main Differences Between Map and Globe

  1. A map represents a geographical area on a paper. A globe, on the other hand, represents the world map on a sphere that can rotate around an axis.
  2. A map is two-dimensional while a globe is three-dimensional.
  3. A map is more informative than a globe as it is more detailed.
  4. Globes are heavy-set models of the earth that aren’t easily portable. Maps can easily be transported.
  5. Globes are heavier than maps.
  6. You can use maps to navigate your way through a place but it cannot be said the same for a globe.
  7. Latitudes and longitudes are represented in the form of circles and semicircles in globes, while they are represented as horizontal and vertical lines in maps.


Geography is an important field of study that tells us of the world we live in. We get to know about the place where we live and what surrounds us. It also helps us locate and navigate places. 

A globe is mainly used for the purpose of study while a map is used for more practical purposes. A globe cannot be used for navigation as it does not show the roads and other details, while a map does. A map can represent a specific area on a large scale and helps us find our way.

Both globe and maps have their advantages as well as their disadvantages. A map is less accurate than a globe in representing distance and direction. Maps are also compact, light and easier to handle than globes. 

Nowadays maps can be found on your phones for free! But it is not the same case with globes. Globes can also be quite expensive depending upon the material used to build them.


  1. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s00122-006-0256-8.pdf 
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00221348108980689
  3. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED255416 
2D vs 3D