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Maths > Mapping your Way > Scaling
Mapping your Way


You must have come across many maps. As a pictorial representation of any route or region or country these maps help in knowing a place using landmarks and legends. But have you ever thought how can a map on a small piece of paper represent a big country or any route? Well, the answer lies in its scaling system. The chapter throws light on the details of scaling followed while drawing maps.

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“Maps” is a very common word and is generally used to show the route to any place. As an integral part of today’s life, these provide us the directions to reach any place. We have learned about Maps in Social studies which deals with maps of different countries and the world. But here we shall be dealing with maps that help us in finding our ways to any destination.

Suppose that you want to reach a historical monument like Red Fort in New Delhi and are unaware of the route to it. What is the first thing you would look for? A map! Yes, a map will definitely help you reach your destination.


A map includes landmarks, buildings, legends and public places in sign form placed at a distance measured through a definite system of scaling.  Drawing a map for a place is not an easy task, as it includes a minded job of drawing essential landmarks placed at perfect positions derived from a scaling calculation. Every map has a scaling system specific to its representation, let’s discuss the same.

General Rules of Scaling

Maps that you have are generally made to fit in a piece of paper. Now, the general rules of scaling help us reduce a large place into a drawing on paper. Scaling helps us reduce a place using definite proportions. When we reduce a map on a piece of paper, we do it with the help of the measurement system. The following example will help you understand scaling in a better way.

You are planning to visit Red Fort and have a map in your hand. This map includes buildings that are landmarks and roads. Now are the buildings as big as they are in reality? Well, the answer is a no!

The buildings drawn on the map are reduced to the smallest level of their original size. They may be reduced to 1/100 size of its original size. Reducing a building or road to its smallest size, but in the perfect ratio is called reducing in proportion.

Typical Scales of Mapping

Scales are an important part of every map. The typical measurement scales usually followed while mapping are as follows

  • A neighborhood building: 1 cm = 20 cm
  • A city map on a full page: 1 cm = 2 km
  • India’s map on a full page: 1 cm = 200 km
  • The World Map : 1 cm = 3000 km

Every map defines its system of scaling as the scaling is different for every map. Generally placed on the corners of the page on which a map is drawn, the scaling of every map lets you easily calculate the distance between any two buildings, landmarks or legends. As the scaling system of a map depends on the page size, it may vary with every map.

Solved Question for You

Question 1: On a wall map of World, the distance between the two countries is 10 cm. A the corner of the map, its scale states that 1 cm = 200 KM. Find the actual distance between the countries.

Answer: According to the scale  1 cm = 200 km. Therefore, 10 cm = 10 x 200 = 2000 km. Hence, the actual distance between two countries is 2000 km.

Question 2: What are the three types of scales?

Answer: There are three chief ways that scale is denoted on a map. These three ways are graphic (or bar), verbal, and representative fraction (RF). Bar scales show scale making use of a graphic format.

Question 3: What is a ranking scale?

Answer: A ranking scale is a survey question tool that is used to measure popular choices by asking people to grade their preferences on a list of associated items. For instance, one can make use of ranking scale questions to assess consumer satisfaction or to evaluate ways to encourage your employees.

Question 4: What are scaling techniques?

Answer: Scaling techniques are methods of inserting respondents in continuance of gradual change in the pre-assigned values, symbols or numbers on the basis of the features of a specific object according to the definite rules. Moreover, all the scaling techniques are on the basis of 4 pillars which are order, description, distance and origin.

Question 5: What is Stapel scale?

Answer: Stapel Scale is a unipolar rating scale intended to measure the attitude of the respondent towards the item or event. The scale comprises of 10 categories that range from –5 to +5 without any neutral point (zero) Moreover, the stapel scale is like a semantic differential scale that has slight modifications.

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