How Are Maps of the United States Made?


Quick Answer

Maps of the United States have been made across the ages by cartographers using a variety of techniques, including land surveying, geographic information systems (GIS) and Google Maps Street View cars. As technology improves, land measurement continues to evolve.

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How Are Maps of the United States Made?
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Full Answer

Land surveying is one of the world’s oldest professions. Land surveyors measure and map land, as well as define boundaries between properties. Surveying is necessary for building new properties and making infrastructural changes to land, such as building new freeway ramps, railways and roads. In 3000 B.C. Egyptians used simple tools of measurement and principles of geometry. Now, land surveyors have more accurate electronic distance measurement devices, some of which are fully robotic devices.

A geographic information system, or GIS, integrates and analyzes a collection of digital geographic data through the use of a CAD program. A variety of information is available through GIS, including geographical, topographical and even hydrological data.

Google Maps uses satellite information to supply birds-eye views of the United States and the rest of the world. They have also made possible the option to get a street view of almost any location in the United States by driving around and taking pictures to stitch together in a 3D street view. When in street view, users can virtually walk down streets.

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