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Reading maps

If you want to get from A to B, you really could do with a map in hand. There’s a lot of knowledge to be conveyed and a goal to be achieved in the “Reading maps” teaching materials.

The “Reading maps” teaching materials are aimed at teachers of various educational levels – from primary up to secondary school and from vocational schools through to grammar schools.

Pupils practise using maps with the help of fun exercises such as treasure hunts. They familiarise themselves with scales, draw treasure maps and work with symbols and contour lines. This gives them the tools they need to be able to use a topographical map and create a mental image of the landscape along the way. This is necessary because reading maps is an important skill, especially if there’s a specific aim you’re trying to achieve.

Teaching materials and digital tools

Swisstopo developed its “Reading maps” service in collaboration with the kiknet educational platform. The teaching materials are divided into three levels according to age category. Depending on these levels, pupils may play snakes and ladders or look up what their hometown used to look like on, for example. At level three, an independently organised orienteering event is part of the lesson plan.

In addition to this, pupils make use of wide-ranging worksheets provided as digital tools. Over four modules, they work with the topic “Reading maps made easy”. 

  • Module 1: How a map is made
  • Module 2: How the creation of maps has evolved over time
  • Module 3: How to use a map
  • Module 4: How to create a map yourself

Practical app

These teaching materials are available to all teachers free of charge. An additional highlight of these teaching materials is the free swisstopo app with which you can view the maps on a tablet or smartphone. For ease of use, planned tours can be displayed directly within the app.

Pupils can demonstrate the knowledge they have gained via a digital test or online game at the end of the course. Have fun!

Federal Office of Topography swisstopo Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern
+41 58 469 01 11


Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern

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