Most people use maps in one form or another whether for navigation, vacation planning or general interest. We thought it may be useful to explain some of the terms we use as well as explaining how map scales work and how they relate to the real world.
What does Spiral bound mean?
We produce atlases in two formats: spiral-bound and saddle-stitched. One North American atlas and all our European atlases are spiral-bound. See image right. When open, a spiral-bound atlas lays flat for easy reading—ideal for use on the move. The other two North American atlases are saddle-stitched (stapled). A saddle-stitched atlas takes up a little less space when closed, because there is no wire binding.
Different scales? Which is bigger or smaller? More or less detail?
The smaller the number, the smaller the distance it covers ~or~ the more detail you get.
Smaller number = smaller distance = more detail
Bigger number = bigger distance = less detail
How do map scales work?
Our maps and atlases are produced in different scales for the different types of map. People tend to get confused because a smaller number means more detail.
When you see a scale such as 1:160,000, just what does it mean and how do you say it?
To tell somebody the scale 1:160,000, you would say “one-to-one hundred and sixty thousand”, the colon between the numbers is the ‘to’.
What does it mean? A scale is a numerical ratio which sounds complicated, but is really quite simple.
In the scale shown above, the 1 would represent 1cm on the map and the 160,000 would represent 160,000cm, 1.6Km or 1 mile in real life – on the ground.
1:10,000 = More detail
The Paris City Map (left) has a scale of 1:10,000,
For every 1cm on the map you get 10,000cm or 100m on the ground and shows detail of streets and even individual buildings, excellent for planning a shopping trip!
1:1,000,000 = Less detail
By comparison, the Country map of France (right) has a scale of 1:1,000,000. On this map, 1cm of map represents 1,000,000 cm or 10Km on the ground which is great for planning your route to the beach or the ski slopes..
The table below shows the scales we use on our maps, which type of maps you will find them on and what 1cm and 1 inch of map would represent in real life on the ground.