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Determining Scale

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#1
DOT Cartographer

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I find the most challenging aspect of generating good-looking, functional maps to be determining the scale. I go through my favorite "go-to" scales, fussing over which offers the most detail relative to sheet size (this project is fixed 18x24), but seem to really dawdle over this step. I choose my "go-to" scales based on maintaining a whole-number scale bar ranging from 3 to 5 inches. Does anyone have any great insight or tricks or favorite methods on this topic?

#2
Charles Syrett

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This is an important step, worth spending some time on. Generally, scale is determined by physical dimensions of the map over against the geographic area covered. I like to fine-tune it so that the scale is an even representative fraction (RF), such as, for example, 1:50,000 rather than 1: 51,367.48. (Alternatively, use something like 1 inch to 4 miles rather than 1 inch to 4.0467 miles.) This is mainly so that:

1. I can reuse the map file for future projects, and have a simple scale to work with (the scale is always part of the name of the file itself, e.g. NelsonBC20K.fh11);
2. I can go to my scalebars file and copy/paste the scalebar into the map file (and restyle/tweak as needed).

What the map scale will be on paper, after it's been printed, is usually beyond my control, so I avoid scale statements like the plague. :)

The actual size of the scalebar, its length, number of divisions, whether or not to show both imperial and metric, etc., really depends on the purpose of the map, who will be using it, and how much space you have to give to it.

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

I find the most challenging aspect of generating good-looking, functional maps to be determining the scale. I go through my favorite "go-to" scales, fussing over which offers the most detail relative to sheet size (this project is fixed 18x24), but seem to really dawdle over this step. I choose my "go-to" scales based on maintaining a whole-number scale bar ranging from 3 to 5 inches. Does anyone have any great insight or tricks or favorite methods on this topic?






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