What is Map Scale ?

Map scale is defined as the ratio between map distance to earth distance.

Scale can be represented as one of the following: verbal, ratio, or graphic scale.

Verbal Scale
A verbal scale would be a statement found on the map telling a map reader the relationship between the map distance and earth distance. An example would be, "3cm on the map equals 1Km".

Ratio Scale
A Ratio scale is a representative fraction (RF) that expresses one unit of a measurement on the map, in either english or metric units, is equal to the number of the same units on the earth. Example: if 1cm was measured on a map with RF 1:24,000, the earth distance would be equal to 24,000cm which when converted to meters would be equal to 240m; or 1 inch on a map with a scale of 1:24,000, the earth distance would be equal to 24,000inches which when converted to feet would be equal to 2000ft.

Graphic Scale
A graphic scale is a graphic divided into segments showing the distance on a map labeled with the earth distance it represents.