Map scale is the ratio of distance in the map with the distance on the actual ground represented by the map. For example, on a 1:100000 scale map, 1 cm on the map equals 1 km on the ground. The map scale is used to translate distance on the map to actual distance on the ground.
Map scale can be expressed in 3 ways that are in words or statements, in a linear way, and in ratio.
The formula for translating map distance to the actual ground distance is shown below
map distance = map distance/actual ground distance
The following are the importance or usefulness of a map scale:
- The map scale is used to measure the distance of actual ground represented by the map. As we said in our introduction that map scale is used to translate map distance to actual ground distance therefore you can know the actual ground from the map using the map scale through the formula shown above.
- Scale help in calculating the area on the map. This is because it helps the map reader to measure various dimensions in the map such as width and length.
- The scale is used in map enlargement and reduction
- Scale help to determine the amount of content/feature that a map will contain