Cartography is the field of geography related to making maps. Cartography combines geographical methods with aesthetic techniques. Traditional cartography is generally concerned with five main issues. Firstly, one must choose the relevant traits to be mapped; traits are things such as roads, land masses or bodies of water. Second, one must project this three-dimensional space onto a flat two dimensional media. Third, one must eliminate any irrelevant characteristics based on the map's purpose. Fourth, one must simplify the mapped characteristics to a reasonable degree. Fifth, one must organize all the parts of the map to deliver the intended message or purpose of the map. But, with the onset of technology, modern cartography now works in cohort with geographic information sciences technologies such as GPS's.
Source: Mollweide projection map from Wikimedia Commons.
Maps can be separated into general or thematic maps. Other examples of types of maps include topographic and topological maps. General maps are meant for the average person and therefore host a variety of common features. An example of a general map would simply be a road map. On the other hand, a thematic map is meant for a specific audience and will have only a specific set of features displayed pertaining directly to the intended audience. A topographic map is concerned with elevational changes and often shows these through contour lines. A topological map is concerned with showing a specific route and often disregards the scale because it is only concerned with conveying specific information. An example of such would be a subway map.
Title Image Credit: flickr.com