1. ## Scale?

I have noticed that most maps are no longer including a mileage or distance scale. To me, having a scale reference is the most important part of a map.

Has this changed?

2. Not to my knowledge. I always put a compass rose and scale bar of some kind on all my maps, both very necessary to any map. Now sometimes I place a square grid, but then I'll reference somewhere on the map that states the scale of the squares (ie: 1 square = 5' or 100', whatever).

3. I am pretty new so the reason for why my maps rarely include any kind of scale might just be inexperience. However, I find it very difficult to realize distances. It is just something I have a difficult time doing. I don't include distances because I don't know how long a distance is too long (or the opposite). That might change once I get a proper grasp of measurements, though.

4. Originally Posted by Skari-dono
I am pretty new so the reason for why my maps rarely include any kind of scale might just be inexperience. However, I find it very difficult to realize distances. It is just something I have a difficult time doing. I don't include distances because I don't know how long a distance is too long (or the opposite). That might change once I get a proper grasp of measurements, though.
After placing tree and building objects in a given map, I decide that 'this building is 50' long' and use that as a guide for scale. In a map of a region or continent, I look at a single geographic area, say a desert and decide it takes 3 days to cross on mounts, say you can move 20 miles a day, so it's 60 miles across that desert. Use that to scale up the rest of your map.

5. Those are actually super handy suggestions, Gamerprinter. I'll definitely have to remember them next time I'm trying to gauge the scale of my maps.

6. Originally Posted by Dark Huntress
I have noticed that most maps are no longer including a mileage or distance scale. To me, having a scale reference is the most important part of a map.

Has this changed?
Consistent linear scale is only possible with large scale (small extent) maps (or maps of worlds that do not have complex curvature). A map of a large continent or whole world is going to have distances distorted, though how it is distorted varies with the projection. The Equidistant Cylindrical projection for instance preserves distances along meridians, but distorts distances in all other directions. At the poles you have a single point stretched out the the width of the entire map.

So, if you want to put a meaningful scale indicator on a map, it needs to be a map of a small extent, and it needs to be in an appropriate projection for that extent.

Similarly, a Compass Rose or Rhumb lines imply that bearings (Compass directions) are preserved. Again, this is possible for small extents, if the projections is centred on that extent, and for the very specific Normal Mercator projection, under which it is true for the entire map (Although areas are massively distorted) If bearings are not preserved, then you shouldn't use a compass rose. A simple north arrow can be used to indicate that North is preserved: many projections preserve North without preserving Northeast for instance. In some cases, even north can't be preserved: polar projections put a pole at the centre, so north is either toward or away from the centre.

The final major component of a map that many people treat as decorative, but which has specific meaning, is the graticule. This is the grid of latitude and longitude lines. This has the most information in it and so is the most complex to deal with. Simply using a grid of squares implies you are using the Platee Carre projection (A special case of the Equidistant Cylindrical projection) This is simple, but the distortion takes the form of some very ugly looking stretching near the poles. Drawing a map in this projection that lacks such stretching means the map would look pinched if projected on a globe.

7. Originally Posted by Dark Huntress
I have noticed that most maps are no longer including a mileage or distance scale. To me, having a scale reference is the most important part of a map. Has this changed?
There are different ways of addressing scale. Some folks use grids. Some use hex patterns.

We never use a scale bar. Our maps all come with a scaled grid that one can switch on and off. In publications, we offer both versions.

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