Map Reading

The geographical aspect related to map reading is commonly known as Practical Geography. It involves the skill of recognizing conventional signs on a map and utilizing these signs to interpret the representation of the earth’s surface on paper. A map provides an overhead view of a large land area, such as a town, village, or […]

The geographical aspect related to map reading is commonly known as Practical Geography. It involves the skill of recognizing conventional signs on a map and utilizing these signs to interpret the representation of the earth’s surface on paper. A map provides an overhead view of a large land area, such as a town, village, or country, condensed onto a single page.

Various types of maps exist, including Topographical Maps, Atlas Maps, Plan Maps, and Sketch Maps.

 

MAP SCALE

The map scale indicates the correlation between distances on the map and actual distances on the ground. It represents the ratio or proportion between measurements on the map and those on the ground. For example, a scale of 2cm to 1km signifies that two centimeters on the map represent one kilometer on the ground.

 

TYPES OF SCALE

Three types of scale are Statement scale, Linear scale, and Representative scale.

  1. A) Statement Scale

This type of scale is presented as a statement with accompanying figures, such as 1cm to 2km (indicating 1cm on the map represents 2km on the ground) or 2cm to 1km.

Question: If the map scale is 2cm to 1km, what is the ground distance if the distance on the map between two towns is 10cm?

 

Solution:

Map distance = 10cm

Ground distance = 10 x (1/2) = 5km

 

  1. B) Linear Scale

Linear scale is a drawn line illustrating the relationship between map distances and actual ground distances. It consists of primary and secondary divisions.

 

HOW TO USE LINEAR SCALE

  1. Measure the distance between two places on the map.
  2. Use a ruler or thread to measure the distance in cm or inches.
  3. Align the measured distance with the linear scale, starting from zero and stretching to the right.
  4. If the length exceeds the scale, record the distance where the scale ends, measure the remaining part, and add the two measurements.

 

  1. C) Representative Fraction

This scale is expressed as a fraction or ratio, where the numerator represents the map distance, always one (1), and the denominator represents the ground distance.

 

E.g., 1: 100,000; 1: 50,000; 1: 200,000, etc.

 

How To Use Representative Fraction

  1. Identify the two places involved.
  2. Measure the distance between them.
  3. Relate the measured distance to the representative fraction.

 

Question: If the map scale is 1:50,000, what is the ground distance if the distance on the map between two towns is 10cm?

 

Solution:

Map distance = 10cm

Ground distance = 10 x (1/2) = 5km

 

SIZE OF A SCALE

The size of a scale can be classified as either small or large.

 

  1. A) Small Scale Map

Shows a large area but lacks intricate details, displaying only crucial features. The larger the denominator, the smaller the scale (e.g., 1:1,000,000).

 

  1. B) Large Scale Map

Shows a small area with more details and important features. The smaller the denominator, the larger the scale (e.g., 1:5,000).

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