Maps are the on-screen representations of a developer's game world in the many RM engines. The term "map" is almost universally recognised as the layout of tiles in a given space on the screen, creating a playfield for the player to navigate his characters and accomplish tasks.
These types are basic archtypes of mapmaking; not all games will follow this mold but are typically similar.
Thinking of mapping as a "biggest to smallest" task, we have the World Map being at the forefront. It contains the entirety of explorable territory in the game, be it an area, an island or a whole planet- some designers sacrifice detail for depiction of star systems or galaxies, or the many fantastic planes of existance in their game, but the concept remains the same: the overall explorable content of the game. On this map we see gross representations of oceans, mountains, deserts- landforms on a global scale, or the scale of a standard globe or atlas.
Centers of Civilization
THe world map will have on it depictions of castles, towns, cities or whatever stands for a smaller division of the world; this scale of map usually holds the services that the player characters will need to survive the gameplay. Typical to this map are the outer representations of Inns, Weapon and Armor shops and the like, and possibly NPCs who will give clues to the current conflict or even prospective party members. These maps typically contain charaters that give the players their objectives.
Also on this scale are the dungeons. For the purposes of this discussion, a "dungeon" is a defined space in which an objective is sought to be completed. In contrast from town maps but in common with world maps, random monster encounters occur here.
The last broad category of maps are the interior maps. These are the inside of the buildings shown in the town maps, and is where a great deal if not all of the game commerce occurs. Some interiors have several floors to them, which are essentially more interior maps.
In all RMs, mapping technique is slightly different but all makers encourage the developer to use plausible goegraphy in their mapping, i.e., mountains, deserts, etc. The varied layers in RMXP have proved challenging for many mappers to master, but it is common opinion that more layers equal better detail. RMVXA also has a layering feature.
Basic technique includes providing a visually appealling yet plausible playfield that allows the player to explore any area they can see, given the right conditions within the game, such as proper vehicles or appropriate progress through the game.