Cartographic Scale

Table of Contents

Read here about a type of scale. The relevance of this "scale" to the broader concern of "scale" as an "order of magnitude" is discussed.


Cartographic Scale is a form of a representation system used in map-making. Some scales referred to below are principal scale, variable point scale and constant scale.

Any map projection must be comparable to the size of reality or the Earth and, in order to represent it on a small sheet of paper, it must be scaled down by a constant ratio known as the representative fraction (RF) or principal scale. Thus we have to differentiate two uses of the word scale: the variable point scale inherent in the projection and the constant scale involved in the reduction to the printed (or screen) map.

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