Maps are very similar to scale drawings. The main difference is that they are usually used to show places.
If you look in a holiday brochure you will see lots of maps. They are often used to show how a resort is laid out. They show where a few important places are, such as local shops, hotels, the beach, swimming pools and restaurants.
It is important to understand how to read a map so that you do not end up too far from the places you want to be near – or too close to the places you want to avoid!
Example: Site map
Here is a typical example of a site map.
How far apart is everything on this map?
As with scale drawings, the thing you need to know before you can understand the map is the scale. In this example the scale is 1:1,000. This means that every 1 cm on the map represents 1,000 cm (or 10 m) in real life.
Using the scale, you can interpret the data on the map and work out how far different places are from one another.
To do this you need to measure the distances on the map and then multiply them by 1,000 to get the actual distance in centimetres. Or, more simply, you could multiply the distances in centimetres by 10 to get the actual distance in metres.
So on this map the site storage area is 1 cm from the two-bedroomed house. In real life that’s 10 m – not very far at all.
Now try the following activity. Remember to check your answers once you have completed the questions.
Activity 7: Using a map to find distances
Let’s stay with the site map.
Hint: The entrances to the buildings are marked with crosses on the map. You need to measure from these crosses.
- What is the distance in real life between the site cafe and the site office in metres?
- How far is it in real life from the three-bedroomed house to the executive beach house in metres?
- What is the distance in real life from the site storage to the beach in metres?
The distance on the map between the site cafe and site office is 4 cm on the map, and the scale is 1:1,000. This means that 1 cm on the drawing is equal to 1,000 cm in real life. So to find out what 4 cm is in real life, you need to multiply it by 1,000:
- 4 × 1,000 = 4,000 cm
The question asks for the length in metres, so you need to convert centimetres into metres:
- 4,000 ÷ 100 = 40 m
The actual distance in real life between the site cafe and site office is 40 m.
- The distance on the map is 2 cm. Using the same calculation, the actual distance in real life between the three-bedroomed house and the executive beach house is 20 m.
- The distance on the map is 6 cm. Using the same calculation, the actual distance in real life between the site storage and the beach is 60 m.
In this section you have learned how to use maps.