Difference Between Political and Physical Map (With Table)

A map is a mini illustration of the big geographical area of the world or country. It makes us view the entire world at a short glance. It defines different areas, regions, features, and landscapes of a particular place. It is a great guide to tourists, learners, travelers, and explorers. Both political maps and physical maps define the geographical area of different countries or the entire world itself.

Political Map vs Physical Map

The difference between political and physical map is that political maps illustrate the divisions that have been done by humans whereas physical map shows the features that have been differentiated by nature itself. In political maps, one can find different states, cities, and towns which have been put into different categories by the government of different countries. In physical maps, one can find different natural features such as plateaus, hills, mountains, rivers, ranges, seas, islands, etc.

Political maps are quite understandable and definable. They clearly define different states, regions, cities, and state capitals. It gives an allover knowledge of how far two cities and states are present. One can clearly see the common boundaries two-state share or which states or cities are present next to a particular city. It helps students or learners to gain information about different countries or cities of the world.

Physical maps illustrate various natural features such as lakes, mountains, rivers, deserts, grasslands, plains, etc. These have differences that can be felt and seen easily due to the change in their nature. These differences do not come due to the reason that people of different cultures, races, and languages occupy them.

Comparison Table Between Political and Physical Map

Parameters of ComparisonPolitical MapPhysical Map
ConsistsIt portrays states, major cities, towns, and villages.It portrays natural features like mountains, oceans, hills, rivers, lakes, deserts, plateaus, etc.
Made ByThese boundaries are made after a lot of planning and discussion among people in power.These features are naturally distinguished by the nature.
Focus OnIt concentrates on the geographical area of the city or state consumes.It concentrates unnatural features that can be seen and felt;
Factors of divisionThese divisions are generally made to bring people of the same ethnicity, caste, language, race together.These divisions are mostly naturally defined.
UseThese maps are used by explorers, travelers, and learners.These maps are used by geologists, students, and tourists.

What is Political Map?

Political maps are generally published by the government or anyone that is in power in a particular area. Like any other map, these maps firstly outline the geographical area that comes under a country. Further, these maps have important cities, towns, states, capitals, oceans, territories.

For any country or geographical region to publish its political map requires a lot of planning and discussion. These maps are carefully carved as there could be a lot of problems if a particular region goes under a different boundary. These maps also help government bodies to understand which particular region comes under which regional government.

Students can learn a lot from detailed political maps. It helps them to learn where a particular region lies in a country. Many learn about capitals of different states and also about major cities. Students try to name different regions in a plain outlined political map and remember the name of different regions. It overall helps learners to know about different places present in a region.

These maps also help explorers and travelers to know about major cities and places nearby. The boundaries were drawn in a political map basically define places according to their ethnicity, landscapes, cultures, region, race, similarities, etc. These boundaries are drawn back in time and modified with modern changes.

What is Physical Map?

Physical maps help in classifying different natural features present in a particular country or region. It overall has a great significance to new learners, navigators, travelers, and explorers.

These maps depict places like deserts, plateaus, rivers, lakes, oceans, hills, mountains, ranges, plains, etc. This hence shows how versatile is a particular country or place as this map shows all the natural features present. In many political maps, one can also find the height of different mountain ranges, length of rivers, neighboring countries, etc.

These maps show how far a river extends and how many states it does serve. Hence, it forms wholesome information for enthusiastic learners. A physical map may or may not contain elevated regions, but the ones that contain them are updated every now and then.

It also may contain longitude and latitudes, which give an exact location of a place on the earth plane. These maps serve the curiosity of knowing about the geology and geography of various regions.

In schools, children are given plank physical maps in order to label different physical features that one sees in a physical map. Overall, physical maps provide a lot of knowledge. Geographers find great information in them.

Main Differences Between Political and Physical Map

  1. Political maps help to view boundaries of states, cities, and towns, whereas a physical map points out the natural features of a country or region.
  2. Political maps do not show mountain ranges, hills, and rivers, whereas physical maps do show them.
  3. Political maps do not show elevated regions, whereas a physical map usually shows them.
  4. Political maps concentrate on boundaries, whereas physical maps just locate the place and further its physical feature.
  5. Political maps are more complicated than physical maps.


It can be concluded that both political and physical maps help to know more about a particular place. These maps give knowledge and information in one way or the other. The political maps give us an idea about different states and cities, whereas physical maps give us knowledge about various naturally existing features present in a place. Political maps are made because humans have divided places with boundaries to make things easier, whereas the physical maps let us know about the differences nature has brought in a particular region in order to bring diversity to the world.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3137130
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/14650049808407604
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