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IELTS Map Vocabulary

Posted: September 16, 2020 at 1:55 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

n some cases, Task 1 of IELTS writing asks the test taker to describe a map. 

This map vocabulary section helps you to understand the main phrases, language and the vocabularies that can be used while describing ielts maps in  writing task 1. The criteria you need to keep in mind while answering this question is task achievement, lexical resource, coherence and cohesion, grammatical range and accuracy. If you have a good vocabulary, you can get a high IELTS band score in this section. Your knowledge of lexical resource is assessed by the following points:

  • Usage of appropriate synonyms in your writing.
  • Usage of appropriate ielts map vocabulary in your writing.
  • While paraphrasing, you can repeat the words only if there is no alternative. Else try to write your own words.
  • You will be able to achieve a high band if uncommonly used vocabulary is included in your writing.
  • Do not repeat the words.
  • Use accurate words in the sentence, which matches the question.

IELTS task 1 map vocabulary

There are various phrases that can be used to explain things. But there are certain words which can be used to describe the ielts map or a diagram which are as follows:

Adverbs and Prepositions

  • North/South/East/West
  • Upstairs/Downstairs
  • Clockwise/Anticlockwise
  • To the north/To the south/To the east/To the west
  • Across the road
  • Before you get to
  • In the middle of = in the centre of
  • Just beyond = a little beyond = just past
  • Inside/Outside
  • To the left of/ To the right of


  • Go up/Go down
  • Start by
  • Is located = is situated = lies = there is = is
  • Run through = cross = pass through = go through
  • Cross = pass over = cut across


  • Crossroad = intersection = junction
  • Hosing area = residential area = sleeping area
  • Entrance = doorway
  • Path = way
  • Roundabout
  • Area = field = zone
  • Site = place = location
  • Edge = boundary = end = fringe


  • The railway runs through the pass-through/ crosses/ goes through Z.
  • A is located in the northeast of the town.
  • X is situated in the northeast of the town, just behind the housing area.
  • A is located in the northeast of B, which has a lot of population.
  • Y is located in the centre of the town, which has a railway running through it from north to south.


You need to be careful while paraphrasing the sentences. Sometimes the words that you paraphrase may not be appropriate

  • Town centre = city centre may be the wrong word used because the town cannot be a city. So the correct paraphrasing should be the centre of the town

IELTS map writing vocabulary

In order to succeed in getting a good band score, you have to know some of the vocabulary given below.


  • Illustrates

Eg:  The map is illustrated with colors.

  • Describes

Eg: This map clearly describes that the cyclone is moving towards the north.

  • Demonstrates

Eg: The drought-prone areas are demonstrated in the map, by conducting a soil test.

  • Represents

Eg: Those shades of grey in the map, represent the drought-prone areas.

  • Reflects

Eg: The map reflects that the Indian borders are shrinking.

  • Shows

Eg: The map clearly shows that there would be rainfall in southern areas.

  • According to

Eg: The building is constructed according to the map.

  • Provides detail of

Eg: The map provides details of deviations in the building.

  • Gives information about

Eg: The map gives information about the irrigation channels used in the field.

System of Co-ordinates

  • Axis

Eg: The x-axis represents the countries.

  • Trend

Eg: The trends observed from the map, are not positive

  • Coordinate

Eg: A map flashed onscreen, indicating a location with the proper coordinates beside it.

  • Vertical axis Y

Eg: The vertical axis Y shows the time taken.

  • Horizontal axis X

Eg: The horizontal axis X represents the participants.

Table format

  • Row

Eg: The row runs horizontally in the excel sheet.

  • Column

Eg: The column runs vertically in the excel sheet.

  • Cell

Eg: A cell is a rectangular box that occurs at the intersection of a vertical column and a horizontal row in a worksheet.

  • Data

Eg: Data is the entry made on a cell in the workbook.


  • Go up

Eg: I go up to the rooftop when I want to see the blue sky.

  • Increase

Eg:  Howard had to gradually increase the speed of his bike.

  • Peak

Eg: Sales reached its peak during the winter.

  • Jump

Eg: You have to jump over the wall to reach there.

  • Rise

Eg: The water is starting to rise slightly in the flooded basement.

  • Come down

Eg: I’ll come down in a few minutes.

  • Decrease

Eg: There was a decrease in rainfall, this year.

  • Decline

Eg: She declined the offer.

  • Fall

Eg: There was a fall in the gold rates after the pandemic.

  • Fluctuate

Eg: The opinions of present-day economists appear to fluctuate between these two extremes.


  • Over the time period

Eg: The land turned fertile over a time period.

  • Estimated

Eg: It was estimated that the city would develop in 10 years of time.

  • Gradually

Eg: The rainfall decreased gradually and stopped in the month of November.

  • Rapidly

Eg: The neem trees grew rapidly.

  • Further

Eg: You have to explain further.

  • Makeup

Eg: Lissy had to make up for the loss.

  • Per week/month

Eg: The graph shows the rainfall per week.

  • Account for

Eg: Iraqi oil exports account for about 1 per cent of world supply.

  • Projected

Eg: The meteorological department projected rainfall of about 23%.

  • Substantially

Eg: The temperature in Rajasthan is substantially higher than that of eastern India.

Map Location

  • Situated

Eg: The house is situated near the lake.

  • Located

Eg: At last! he located the spot.

  • Vicinity

Eg: In the vicinity are several cheap hotels.

  • Northeast

Eg: Ladakh is situated in the Northeast of India.

  • Southeast

Eg: In Fengshui, the kitchen has to be in the Southeast corner.

  • Northwest

Eg: Punjab is situated in the Northwest of India.

  • Southwest

Eg: She renovated the Southwest portion of the house.

  • North

Eg: The cyclone is moving towards the north.

  • South

Eg: He hails from the deep south.

  • East

Eg: The sun rises in the east.

  • West

Eg: The suns sets in the west.


  • Was reported

Eg: The crime was reported last month.

  • On the other hand

Eg: It seems like a great building, on the other hand, you are displacing a lot of animals by building it.

  • Was noted

Eg: It was noted that it rains a lot in Cherrapunji.

  • Overall

Eg: Overall, its not a good time to invest in gold.

  • It can be concluded that

Eg: It can be concluded that he is dead.

  • To summarize

Eg : He was asked to summarize all the points.

  • In total

Eg: Last night she risked her life climbing down the stairs in total darkness

Thus the IELTS writing task 1 asks you to use different vocabularies for the data given for the map. You should be able to choose the main features and explain their trend, compare and contrast the data, check if 2 maps are given in order etc.


What is meant by map vocabulary?

Map vocabulary is the set of words and collocations that are needed to describe a map (a visual representation)

What are the different types of maps?

Political maps, topographic maps, time zone maps, physical maps, road maps, geologic maps, and zip code maps are all examples of reference maps. Thematic maps show the variation of a topic (the theme) across a geographic area.

How to describe maps?

You need to use map vocabulary. One example would be
B which is situated north east of A has a population of 40,000.
Explanation : Situated – is a word to denote location
: north east – denotes direction

Is there a structure to be followed while describing maps?

Yes. Every Task 1 essay has to follow the same structure, which is,
Detailed explanation

Give some examples of vocabulary related to maps.

In the introduction – you may use illustrate
To describe a location – you may use the cardinal directions like north, east, etc.
In conclusion – you may use Overall

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