Proportion Maps

Vintage maps have many proportionality errors.

Maps have been used since ancient times in human history. When looking at older maps, one of the first things that becomes apparent is the lack of proportionality regarding the landmasses and bodies of water. Without satellite views of the earth, it was very difficult for explorers and cartographers to get a sense of scale when they were traveling and charting the earth. However, with better technology, that is no longer a problem, and modern maps are drawn to scale.


1. Decide which region of the earth that your map will encompass.

2. Find out how many miles tall and wide that area is or how many inches tall and wide it is on a map.

3. Measure the length and height of the paper on which you will draw your map.

4. Divide the length and height from Step 2 by the length and height of the paper. The resulting quotient is the proportionality factor for your map. Indicate the proportionality factor in the legend of your map.

5. Divide the lengths and heights of each landmass or body of water by the proportionality factor in order to obtain the length and height of each landmass or body of water for your map.

6. Use a ruler to mark the tallest and widest regions of each geographic feature on your map.

7. Draw each feature, using the points as guideposts.

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