Physical maps are a type of map which primarily focus on revealing the physical features of a given area. Physical maps of the world, the continents, and the ocean floor reveal landforms and vegetation in stunning detail. Although printed physical maps are often human interpretations, certain depictions cans sometimes emphasize subtle features that are otherwise invisible in satellite imagery.
In physical maps, colors and shading illustrate variations in elevation, landforms, and vegetation. Patterns indicate specific landscape features, such as sand, glaciers, and swamps. Blue lines indicate rivers; other water bodies are shown as areas of blue. Lighter shading reflects the limits of the Continental Shelf. Boundaries and political divisions are usually shown in red. Dotted lines indicate disputed or uncertain boundaries.