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Scales in Maps

Scales in Maps

Maps are drawn to a scale. Map scales are either given as a ratio, such as 1:2500, or given as a measured distance on the map representing an actual distance, such as 1 centimetre represents 5 kilometres.

The measured distance can be changed to a ratio by writing the comparison in the same units.

Example 1

What, in real life, is the distance from Ardley to Elvinside? On the map, 2cm represents 5km.

Map of Ardley - Elvinside with ruler for scales

The ruler measures 12cm.

On the map, 1cm represents 5 รท 2 = 2.5km.

12 x 2.5 = 30km.

Answer: 27.5km

Example 2

What should the ruler measure, if the straight-line distance from Ardley to Becansrop is 10.75km in real life?

Divide 10.75km by 5 = 2.15

Multiply by 2 = 4.3 cm

Answer: 4.3 cm