A map can be a piece of paper, parchment or even a virtual hologram that shows the layout of a landscape. Maps may show the contour of the terrain, man-made structures, statistical densities based on geography, or other relevant information. Maps may not initially be filled in, when acquired, and may require to user to fill in the information. In some games, this may automatically be populated by exploring and in other games, a tool such a pen or compass, may be required to do so. Once a map is full, it usually remains to be the case. Maps usually have a scale so that users may understand the ratio between the drawing and the real world.

Maps may also be used as clues and be cryptic about certain places or used for puzzles and the like.