mapsworldwide blog

We are an online specialist map retailer based in the United Kingdom, supplying maps, travel guides & nautical charts worldwide.

What scale do I need?

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We regularly get customers who are confused about the scale of maps and what it means.  Basically, most maps have a scale given as a ratio, and the scale of a map is defined as the ratio of a distance on the map to the corresponding distance on the ground.  Therefore a scale of 1:100 000 means that for every one unit on the map, it represents 100 000 units on the ground; the unit can be inches, centimetres, tiddlywinks or chocolate biscuits, as long as they are both the same either side of the ratio!  Most maps suitable for walking are in a scale of 1:25 000 or 1:50 000, any greater that this, can make it difficult to follow a route, however for driving a scale of 1:200 000 to 1:500 000 or greater depending on the country or the terrain, can be suitable.  We are always willing to answer questions about the maps we sell, and if anyone can contribute a better definition, please let us know!

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