Field Trip: Map Use and Scale

Print this page
beginning of content:

Name___________________________

Station I:

Use the 1:500,000 map of the Bay Area and a ruler to answer the following questions.

  1. How many inches on the Earth's surface does one inch represent on this map?
  2. How many miles on the Earth's surface does one inch represent on this map?
  3. How many MILES "as the crow flies" is San Jose from Santa Cruz?
  4. How many KILOMETERS "as the crow flies" is San Jose from Oakland?
  5. For what activities would this map be useful?

Station II:

Use the 1:100,000 map of San Jose and a ruler to answer the following questions.

  1. How many inches on the Earth's surface does one inch represent on this map?
  2. How many miles on the Earth's surface does one inch represent on this map?
  3. How far in MILES is Hwy 280 from Capitol Expressway?
  4. What are three water features that are close to the Evergreen area?
  5. For what activities would this map be useful?

Station III:

Use the 1:24,000 map of the Evergreen area and a ruler to answer the following questions.

  1. How many inches on the Earth's surface does one inch represent on this map?
  2. How many FEET on the Earth's surface does one inch represent on this map?
  3. How many inches represent one mile on this map?
  4. Find the north arrow on the map. How many degrees is "magnetic north" from "true north"?
  5. Using Aborn Road, how far is Capitol Expressway from White Road?
  6. As you look south from the Silver Creek High School field, what large physical feature is visible?
  7. How is this feature represented on the map?
  8. How many feet of elevation does each "contour line" represent?
  9. If you were to update this map, what additions would you make based on what you can see from here?
  10. For what activities would this map be useful?

Station IV:

  1. Using the compass, find "magnetic north." Describe what you see in that direction.
  2. Using the compass and room T-11 as a reference point, draw a north arrow. Be sure to label both true north and magnetic north.
  3. Station V: Using a ruler, distance ropes, tape measure, and your school map, find the following information.
  4. The length of the boys' locker room's east wall on the map, in inches
  5. The length of the boys' locker room's east wall on the ground, in inches
  6. Based on these measurements, what is the scale of this building?

Scale Formula:

Map distance/ground distance=1/x (x=units on ground, solve for x)

ALL distances must be in same unit.

Example from 1:24000 map:

0.5 inches/12000 (1000 feet) inches =1/x

Step 1: cross multiply 12000=0.5x

Step 2: solve for x 12000/0.5=x

24000=x

So, the scale is 1:24000

Station VI:

Using a ruler, distance ropes, tape measure, and your school map, find the following information.

  1. The length of the T building's east wall on the map, in cm
  2. The length of the T building's east wall on the ground, in cm
  3. Based on these measurements, what is the scale of this building?

Station VII:

Using a ruler, distance ropes, tape measure, and your school map, find the following information.

  1. The length of the small gym's east wall on the map, in inches
  2. The length of the small gym's east wall on the ground, in inches
  3. Based on these measurements, what is the scale of this building?

Station VIII:

(after all other stations have been completed)

  1. Peel and share an orange with your partners.
  2. How is peeling an orange like making a map?

REVIEW:

  1. Circle the smaller scale 1:100,000 or 1:10,000
  2. Large-scale maps give more close up detail than small-scale maps. T/F
  3. Small-scale maps show more land area than large-scale maps. T/F
  4. Are the distances on the map and the ground consistent enough for us to say that the map is "to scale"?
  5. Based on the reading "Do Maps Create or Represent Reality?" give two examples of "human imposed" creations of reality on the maps in this activity.
  6. What are some accurate representations of reality that you have seen or experienced in this activity?

Authored by

  • Wil Henninger
    Silver Creek High School
    San Jose, California