Tourist maps are one of the most common groups of cartographic documents. Their variety in terms of content, subject matter and publication titles is a result of growing popularity of diverse forms of tourism activity. The aim of the authors of this article is to demonstrate issues related to tourist maps, including their variety in relation to contemporary forms of tourism. As tourist maps are constantly developing, the authors decided to propose a classification of tourist maps which is adequate from the point of view of the types of maps we currently distinguish. Taking into consideration the aim and type of tourism, the maps were divided into the following sub-groups: maps for sightseeing tourism, qualified tourism, and other tourism, as well as tourist city maps, and maps prepared for promotion and advertising of tourism. The first there categories were further divided into more detailed sub-categories and each of them was described briefly in terms of its content. The classification of maps based on their scales and form of content presentation was also included.
The authors attempted also to define the concept of “tourist map” itself. The authors defined it as a geographic representation of an area presented on a plane, in accordance with specific mathematical rules, which should include topographic contents, information about tourist attractions of a given area, its tourist and complementary infrastructure, presented with the help of conventional signs, in a matter appropriate for the scale of the map and its intended use.
Contributing to the discussion on the place of tourist map in the general classification of maps, the article distinguishes not only general-geographic maps and thematic maps, but also orientation and navigation maps. This terms covered tourist maps, road maps, and navigation maps: sailing, sea, aerial and city maps. They consist a group of maps in which the functions they play determine their informational content and their form of cartographic presentation. However, unlike on thematic maps, where the general geographic content is merely a background for presentation of the theme-related phenomena, the geographic content is essential in case of tourist maps. It is precisely the general geographic content which is primarily responsible for communicating information which is meant to be used for orientation and navigation purposes.