small scale map example

Notice how not all the features show up as you zoom out.

In the example below, the small scale map of the Chicago area shows only major transportation routes, and rivers. Therefore, we, as the map makers, must be diligent in assembling the maps. I often find myself explaining aspects of map scales to people trying to use maps.

Meaning of small-scale map. If this occurs and one attempts to measure 1 inch on the modified map, it's not the same as 1 inch on the original map. When making maps, MMU is especially useful as it puts the scale and resolution in context of real features.

One area that always confuses people is, how small of an object can a raster detect?

Large scale maps are typically used to show site plans, local areas, neighborhoods, towns etc. As the cartographer brings together sources from many maps, the MMU provides the framework to judge if the features should be shown at the selected map scale.

This includes documenting the source scale of your data, using dynamic symbology and visibility based on scale, and building multi-scale maps. Traditionally a map would be produced at a fixed scale. Map Scales: Large Scale vs. Small Scale A map showing the whole world is on a very small scale (1:360 000 000 000) which allows for an overall view, but not much detail.

m, you don’t need to collect the footprint of small outbuildings.

To find a distance using a graphic legend, measure the legend with a ruler to find its ratio; maybe 1 inch equals 50 miles, for instance. As a digital cartographer, one of the critical jobs is making sure the map is used at the correct scale. As the creators of the maps we must understand the nuances of maps, so that the people who use them can use them appropriately.

Example showing muti-scale map.

Maps are often known as large scale or small scale. 1:2,500 is an example of a large scale. For example, if the resolution is 1m, does that mean you can make out things 1 meter in size? One of the areas that I find confuses people is map scales, resolution, and minimum mapping units (MMU). Example of raster resolution with 30m DEM. Obviously, the first map would show much more detail than the second, because 1 centimeter on the first map covers a much smaller area than on the second map. This physical limit of the technology of ink and pens allowed the cartographer to use their local knowledge to simplify some features and highlight others and make them generally readable and generally in the right place. These are sometimes called multi-scale maps.

Over time this artistic process has increasingly been automated using display rules on the data (see For example 1 inch on the map equals 4 miles on the ground, which could also be represented as 1:250,000 (or 1 inch = 250,000 inches which equates to about 4 miles). This scale restricted the level of detail you would show on the map; for example on  maps where the scale is 1 inch = 4 miles, if you wanted to show a feature that was 100 feet across in real life, it was smaller than the width of your pen, so you dropped it off the map. In the interactive digital mapping world, when you work with a map you are actually working with a stack of maps created at different scales to show you the data you should see at the scale you are currently zoomed into. The MMU (minimum mapping unit) is the specific size of the smallest feature that is being reliably mapped in your map.

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