Map Scales
Because maps are representations of the land, they are smaller (obviously) than the land they represent. The relationship between distance on the ground and distance on the map is known as the scale of the map. Typically, scale is expressed as a ratio such as 1:50,000 or 1:10,000. If we take 1:50,000, this means that 1 centimetre on the map equals 50,000 centimetres (or 500 metres) on the ground. This means that the information contained in 500 metres is compacted into just 1 centimetre. Clearly there has to be a reduction in information for this to happen. The amount of information lost depends on the scale. So, a map whose scale is say 1:10,000 will contain more information than a map whose scale is 1:100,000. This is because a 1:10,000 map is physically 10 times the size of a 1:100,000 for the same area of ground.

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