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# What Is a Fractional Scale?

**In mapmaking, a fractional scale refers to the proportion of map distance to the actual distance on the ground.** It can be expressed in fractional form or as a ratio.

Map scaling is an important tool in providing a detailed, precise visual representation of real world features. Due to the impracticality of using the actual distances of geographical characteristics on a map, cartographers scale these features down to a smaller size. The commonly used fractional scale for most geological surveys conducted by the United States is 1/24,000 or 1:24,000, which means that 1 unit of measurement on a topographical map is equivalent to 24,000 units on the ground. Other types of map scales include verbal scales and bar scales.

Learn more about Fractions & Percentages-
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## How Do You Find the Missing Numerator or Denominator?

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## What Advantage Does a Globe Have Over a Flat Map?

A: A two-dimensional map of a large area on Earth geometrically distorts what it is representing, while a globe, which is a sphere, can faithfully display tho... Full Answer >Filed Under: -
Q:
## How Does a Metric Scale Ruler Work?

A: Metric scale rulers commonly use meters, centimeters and millimeters to measure distance, and each measurement is broken down using multiplications of 10. ... Full Answer >Filed Under: -
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## What Is a Linear Scale in Geography?

A: In geography, a linear scale is a bar or line graphic that shows the distance on the map that is equal to a real-world distance, such as 100 miles. Linear ... Full Answer >Filed Under: