A map is a representation, usually on paper or on a screen, of a region of the earth. (Maps are also made of other planets and of star formations.) So it helps us vizualize something that is much larger than we can normally see in one go. Maps of Africa are extremely useful to enabling geographers, planners, and resource managers to understand the bigger picture. These scientific maps usually require specialist interpretation. For lay persons typical maps include those in atlases and those produced by the government. These allow teachers and students to learn the basic features of Africa, such as the main countries and the main geographical features such as surrounding seas and oceans, and inland water bodies and rivers.