Map Essentials

In a previous lesson, we looked at the map essentials. The map essentials were the (1) directional reference; (2) scale; (3) title; (4) date; (5) name of the cartographer; (6) source; (7) projection; (8) locational references; (9) legend or key. Let's apply what we learned, now, to this Cumberland topographic quadrangle. USGS topographic quadrangles follow a fairly uniform basic format.

We have identified the location of the north arrows and magnetic declination information. Very important and central to map reading and interpretation is the map scale. What forms of the scale are provided on this map and what is the verbal scale? basic format

The title of the topographic quadrangles are a key place located in the quad followed by the state or states shown on map. Each scale series has their own set of names, so the best identification gives both the name and the series or scale identification. The maps are often filed or located by this identification. Map libraries frequently sort their maps alphabetically by state and then alphabetically by the map name. An map index of the map names and their position in the state is available to help identify which map is needed for an area. This map is the Cumberland, Maryland-Pennsylvania--West Virginia map. Why does the title of this map contain the name of three states? In which map drawer would you expect to find this map stored? Answers

The date of this map is near the bottom on the right hand side. A newer date is shown for what might equate to the copyright date, except that publications of the government are generally not copyrightable. These maps are often updated and will have an older base with a new photorevised date and "purple" additions. This is a newer edition of the map that has had some additional revisions. Later in one of the activities, you will view an older edition. We have mentioned the issue of updates, and I am sure you will note a wide variety of changes in the cultural landscape between these two editions.

These maps were produced by the United States Geological Survey, as indicated in several different places on the map. One of their logos is found at the top.

The most detailed source information is provided in the text at the bottom left of the map. This text also supplies the projection and datum information.

These maps have many kinds of locational references, some of which we have already looked at and others we will consider a little later. As we look at the map, we might want to see something on the map that is adjacent to this one. How many different maps surround this one? One would line up to the east and one would be located to the west, since these are uniform in size. Also, one would be adjacent to the north and one to the south. At each corner this map would come in contact with another one. So, eight maps connect with this one. But, how would you know their name without looking for that map index mentioned above? For convenience, the quads indicate the names of these eight adjacent maps. Look in the middle of the map side or at the corners to find these names. What map is just to the west of Cumberland, and what map is due south of that map? Answers

You will also note several other features on this map. It contains a locator map for those of you unfamiliar with the state. It has a small legend, but as mentioned in a previous lesson, a more detailed and standardized legend is used.

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