Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Friday, November 25, 2011

Understanding The Scale Of A Map

Maps come in various scales, sizes and variety.  This post makes sense of map scale and what that means to the hiker. defines map scale as:

“A ratio which compares a measurement on a map to the actual distance between locations identified on the map.”

A topographic (topo) map’s scale information is located at the bottom center of the map.  Other maps will generally have scale information in the large map key that outlines many of the features and data printed on the map.

The map scale for a United States Geologic Survey (USGS) 7.5 topo minute map is highlighted below.

A closer look of the scale information:

The area circled in red is the ratio discussed by  Note that the ratio has no units of measurement assigned (e.g., feet, meters, acres.)

To read the rest of the post go here.

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