The Map refers to the actual playable area that you build on and explore while playing. Each map has a specific set of coordinates and a level of resource frequency for Metals, Concrete and Water deposits. There are also levels of frequency for the four Disasters; Dust Devils, Dust Storms, Meteors and Cold Waves. Each of the threats can also be set to "Max" if specific Game Rules are applied or disabled by the No Disasters Game Rule.
Average Altitude determines the effectiveness of Wind Turbines and Large Wind Turbines. Mean Temperature determines the chances of Cold Waves. Topography determines the available build area.
Each map is divided into a 10x10 grid, creating a total of 100 sectors per map. They're labeled from 0-9 bottom to top, and A-J from left to right. The starting sector always has its resources revealed but any other sector needs to be scanned. Hovering over a sector which was not scanned reveals what resources it is rich in, if any.
Sectors can be queued for scanning from the map overview. Sensor Towers and stationary RC Seekers drastically increase the scanning speed of nearby sectors and provide a small overall bonus to scanning.
A fast but expensive way to explore the map is to buy Orbital Probes from Earth which instantly scan a chosen Sector. In Space Race this is especially quick with the USA Sponsor, its Probes scanning 5 Sectors at once.
Building in unexplored sectors carries the risk of building on top of undiscovered resource deposits and anomalies.
Each sector can be deep scanned regularly via the Deep Scanning technology or instantly with probes via the Adapted Probes technology. Deep scanning can reveal deep Metals, Rare Metals or Water deposits. Deep deposits are the only deposits which may have the Very High Grade. Once every sector has been deep scanned any remaining Orbital Probes will be removed and new ones will not be available anymore.
Maps that have a high threat level for Cold Waves will feature permafrost. Unpowered or unused buildings placed on permafrost will slowly freeze within a Sol. Water Towers and Large Water Tanks will freeze instantly. Frozen buildings break down and maintenance can only be given once the building is thawed. The following buildings melt the permafrost around them and thaw frozen buildings:
If the threat level for Cold Waves is set to "Max" as a result of the Winter is Coming Game Rule each map will have permafrost areas.
In Green Planet DLC the permafrost can be removed by Temperature terraforming. It starts melting once Temperature terraforming reaches 50%, loses its effects on buildings at 70% and disappears completely at 100%.
A few maps will feature dust geysers. Every few Sols a dust geyser will erupt and create 1 or 2 Polymers surface deposits. Geyser eruptions cover nearby buildings with dust (about as much as a Rocket) and decrease the Sanity of nearby colonists that don't have the Martianborn trait. Buildings cannot be constructed over a dust geyser.