Far too many people hear the word map today and think instantly of Google Maps. The most common map that people interact with in the 21st century is, undoubtedly, an electronic version that can be zoomed, scrolled, and adjusted to street view for minute details. For all those minute details, there is still something missing from the average digital map that you can only find on a raised relief map.
A raised relief map features a state, country, continent, or the globe with all of its physical features color coded and topography jutting up from the surface. Your textbook maps and online maps cannot top the beauty and real-life appearance of a raised relief map.
US Raised Relief Maps
A map of the United States allows you to see all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with state borders and capitals. However, the US is a nation of amazing environmental differences. Two large mountain ranges dominate the physical profile on the nation. The Appalachian Mountains run along the Eastern Seaboard, while the western third of the nation is cutoff from the East and Midwest by the massive Rocky Mountains.
On a raised relief map you can see the full detail of a both mountain ranges, put your hands on the map and imagine how these physical barriers once served as a deterrent to expansion.
Raised Relief Maps by State
States such as Colorado, Arizona, and California, for example, all have interesting topographies that can be better understand with the help of a raised relief map. Colorado is most commonly associated with the Rocky Mountains. The city of Denver is known as the Mile-High City because of its location high up in the Rocky’s, more than one mile above sea level.
California is a land of diverse ecosystems as well, cut in half down its length by the Sierra Nevada Mountains. On the coast, California is a lush environment that includes forests in the northern portion of the state and fertile farmlands in the midsection. On the other side of the Sierra Nevada’s, in California’s Inland Empire, the mountain range cuts off the region from the rains that coastal areas enjoy. The result is an expansive, unforgiving desert. The Mojave Desert stretches across large swaths of California, Nevada, and Arizona.
Regional Raised Relief Maps
You can also learn more about your world by looking at regional raised relief maps. You’ll gain a better understand about the location of mountain ranges around the globe that you’ve only ready about before in books. You’ll better understand how some of these mountain ranges shaped geopolitical borders over the course of the past two centuries. More importantly, you’ll become a better member of the global community with a well-rounded vision of the world you live in.
Raised relief maps feature mountain ranges that jump off the page. Dark green stretches show you in great detail where fertile regions of the globe exist, fed by natural lakes and snaking rivers. Conversely, vast stretches of brown signify dry, arid regions of the world.