•    Scale is an essential element in all types of maps. A network of lines and polygons in the absence of scale is known as sketch. Scale is used to find out the ground distance on the map. It provides the relationship between a map and the whole or a part of the earth’s surface shown on it. Map scale refers to the relationship (or ratio) between distance on a map and the corresponding distance on the ground.
•    A scale is expressed by the metric system of measurement and the English system of measurement.
•    Metric system has units of measurement like kilometer, centimeter, metre, etc. This system is presently used in India and in many other countries.
•    English System contains units like mile, furlong, yard, feet, etc. This system is prevalent in the United States and the United Kingdom.
•    Map scale can be expressed in three forms. These are:
a.    Statement
b.    Ratio and
•    Graph There are three types of scale:
a.    Statement scale
b.    Graphical scale, and
c.    Representative Fraction


•    In Statement Scale, the scale of a map is indicated in the form of written statement.
•    Graphical scale is also known as bar scale, scale bar, graphic scale, or linear scale. It consists of a straight line divided equally into a number of parts. Primary and secondary divisions are marked on this scale. Merits of a graphical scale are:
•    It is easy to convert a verbal statement and representative fraction into a graphical scale.
•    Easily measures distances on a map
•    It remains true when maps are shrunk or magnified.
•    Representative Fraction (R.F.), shows the scale of a map as a fraction or ratio. The numerator represents the map distance and the denominator represents the corresponding ground distance on this map. The numerator represents the map distance and the denominator represents the corresponding ground distance on this map. The scale shows that one unit on the map is equivalent to a number of units on the ground.
•    Map scales can be converted from one to another according to the user’s need.


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  • Q1

    In which unit is R.F. shown?


    R.F. is just a ratio of map distance and ground and has no unit of its own.

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  • Q2

    What is meant by a representative fraction?


    A method of scale of a map or plan expressed as a fraction showing the ratio between a unit distance on the map or plan, and the distance measured in same units on the ground.

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  • Q3

    Mention the forms of scale.


    Map scales are represented in three forms:-
    i) Statement scale
    ii) Ratio scale
    iii) Graph scale

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  • Q4

    What is the importance of a scale?


    Scale enables us to prepare accurate maps and helps in measuring distances.

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  • Q5

    What is a map scale?


    Map scale is a ratio between distance of any two points on the map and the actual distance of the same points on the ground.

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