A map will always have a scale, especially if it is a navigational map, this scale can usually be found in one of the corners. This scale can then be used to give you a approximate distance for your journey. How you measure this is by getting a ruler or some sort of measuring device and placing it between the starting point of your journey and where you want to end your journey at. For example if you have a scale which says 1cm = 10km and you measure a 10cm road, that means you will be driving 100km. Maps can also be in inches but the same rule applies, if it says 1inch = 10km then you will still be driving for 100km.
Each map will have a compass on it, this will give you the directions for; north, south, east and west. All you have to do to find out what direction you are going in is find the end point of you journey. Then imagine putting your compass on your starting point of the map and looking at the direction the end point is from your starting position and that will roughly tell you the direction you will be going in. For example, if it looks slightly right from the north, that would be going north north-east.
A lot of maps, especially road maps will have some sort of key on them, these keys are then used to tell you what type of road it might be or where a river and ocean is. Also they give you some of the major land marks, for example an air port will be marked with a plane and a hospital will be marked with a cross. An example of one of these keys can be seen below.