Cartographic scale is a mathematical relationship between the measurements on a map and those of the actual terrain it represents. In other words, it’s the ratio of the distances measured on the map to the corresponding distances in the real world. This ratio is expressed as a fraction or a ratio of numbers and is used to determine the level of detail and precision displayed on a map.

For example, a scale of 1:50,000 means that one unit of measurement on the map (such as a centimeter) represents 50,000 units of measurement in the real world (such as a meter). Therefore, a map with a scale of 1:50,000 will display more detail than one with a scale of 1:100,000 but less than one with a scale of 1:25,000.

Cartographic scales can be expressed in different ways, such as:

- Fractions: 1/50,000, 1/100,000, etc.
- Ratios: 1:50,000, 1:100,000, etc.
- Graphically: through a graduated bar or a scale line on the map.

It’s important to take the cartographic scale into account when interpreting a map, as it will affect the accuracy of measurements and the representation of geographical features.

**Numeric scale**

The numeric scale, also known as the representative fraction (RF), is a type of scale used in cartography to represent the relationship between the size of a feature on a map and its size in the real world. The numeric scale is expressed as a ratio, typically written as 1:X or 1/X, where X represents the number of units in the real world that correspond to one unit on the map.

For example, a map with a numeric scale of 1:50,000 means that one unit of measurement on the map represents 50,000 units of the same measurement in the real world. So, if the map is in meters, then one meter on the map corresponds to 50,000 meters in the real world. If the map is in inches, then one inch on the map corresponds to 50,000 inches in the real world.

The numeric scale is a way of representing the relationship between the map and the real world in a precise and consistent manner. It allows mapmakers to create maps that are accurate and useful for navigation, measurement, and other purposes. When using a map with a numeric scale, it’s important to understand the scale and how it relates to the real world in order to interpret the information on the map correctly.

**Graphical scale**

The graphical scale, also known as the bar scale, is another type of scale used in cartography to represent the relationship between the size of a feature on a map and its size in the real world. The graphical scale is typically represented as a bar or a line with marks that indicate different distances, labeled in the units of measurement used on the map (e.g. kilometers, miles, meters, feet, etc.).

For example, a map with a graphical scale might have a bar that is 10 centimeters long, with marks at every centimeter indicating different distances. If the map is in kilometers, then each centimeter on the bar might represent 10 kilometers in the real world. So, if a feature on the map is 5 centimeters away from the graphical scale, then it is located 50 kilometers away in the real world.

The graphical scale is a simple and easy-to-understand way of representing the relationship between the map and the real world. It allows users to quickly and easily estimate distances and measure features on the map without having to use complicated calculations. When using a map with a graphical scale, it’s important to ensure that the scale is accurate and matches the units of measurement used on the map.

**Textual scale**

The textual scale, also known as the word scale, is another type of scale used in cartography to represent the relationship between the size of a feature on a map and its size in the real world. The textual scale is represented as a written statement that describes the relationship between the map and the real world.

For example, a map might have a textual scale that says “One inch represents one mile” or “One centimeter represents ten kilometers”. The statement indicates the ratio between the size of a feature on the map and its size in the real world.

The textual scale is a simple and straightforward way of representing the relationship between the map and the real world. It’s useful for people who may not be familiar with numeric or graphical scales or for situations where it’s not practical to include a bar scale or a numeric scale on the map.

When using a map with a textual scale, it’s important to understand the statement and the ratio it represents in order to interpret the information on the map correctly. It’s also important to ensure that the units of measurement used in the statement match the units used on the map.

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