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CHAPTER 2: Maps, Remote Sensing, and GIS(a). Introduction to Maps

Introduction

can be simply defined as a graphicrepresentation of the real world. This representation isalways an abstraction of reality. Because of the infinitenature of our Universe it is impossible to capture all of the complexity found in the real world. For example,topographic maps abstract the three-dimensional realworld at a reduced scale on a two-dimensional plane of paper.Maps are used to display both cultural and physicalfeatures of the environment. Standard

show a variety of information including roads,land-use classification, elevation, rivers and other water bodies, political boundaries, and the identification of houses and other types of buildings. Some maps arecreated with very specific goals in mind.

Figure 2a-1

and

over most of North America. The intended purpose of this map isconsiderably more specialized than a topographic map.The art of map construction is called

.People who work in this field of knowledge are calledcartographers. The construction and use of maps has along history. Some academics believe that the earliestmaps date back to the fifth or sixth century BC. Even inthese early maps, the main goal of this tool was tocommunicate information. Early maps were quitesubjective in their presentation of spatial information.Maps became more objective with the dawn of Westernscience. The application of

intocartography made maps more ordered and accurate.Today, the art of map making is quite a sophisticatedscience employing methods from cartography,engineering, computer science, mathematics, and psychology.Cartographers classify maps into two broad categories:

. Reference mapsnormally show natural and human-made objects fromthe geographical environment with an emphasis onlocation. Examples of general reference maps includemaps found in atlases and topographic maps. Thematicmaps are used to display the geographical distribution of one phenomenon or the spatial associations that occur between a number of phenomena.

Map Projection

The shape of the Earth's surface can be described as anellipsoid. An ellipsoid is a three-dimensional shape thatdeparts slightly from a purely spherical form. The Earthtakes this form because

causes the region near the equator to bulge outward to space. The angular motion caused by the Earth spinning on its axis alsoforces the polar regions on the globe to be somewhatflattened.Representing the true shape of the Earth's surface on amap creates some problems, especially when thisdepiction is illustrated on a two-dimensional surface. Toovercome these problems, cartographers have developeda number of standardized transformation processes for the creation of two-dimensional maps. All of thesetransformation processes create some type of distortionartifact. The nature of this distortion is related to howthe transformation process modifies specific geographic properties of the map. Some of the geographic properties affected by projection distortion include:distance; area; straight line direction between points onthe Earth; and the bearing of cardinal points fromlocations on our planet.The illustrations below show some of the common

Figure 2a-2

distorts distance, shape, and the size of areas. Another serious limitation of this projection is that only a portionof the Earth's surface can be viewed at any one time.The second illustration displays a

of the Earth (

Figure 2a-3

). On a Mercator projection,the north-south scale increases from the equator at thesame rate as the corresponding east-west scale. As aresult of this feature, angles drawn on this type of mapare correct. Distortion on a Mercator map increases at anincreasing rate as one moves toward higher latitudes.Mercator maps are used in navigation because a linedrawn between two points of the Earth has truedirection. However, this line may not represent theshortest distance between these points.The

Figure 2a-4

). The Mercator projection causes area to be gradually distorted from the equator to the poles.This distortion makes middle and high latitude countriesto be bigger than they are in reality. The Gall-Peters projection corrects this distortion making the areaoccupied by the world's nations more comparable.The

is another

commontwo-dimensional map used to represent the entire Earthin a rectangular area (

Figure 2a-5

). In this project, theEarth is mathematically projected onto a cylinder tangent at the equator. This projection in then unrolledto produce a flat two-dimensional representation of theEarth's surface. This projection reduces some of the

scale exaggeration present in the Mercator map.However, the Miller Cylindrical projection describesshapes and areas with considerable distortion anddirections are true only along the equator.

Figure 2a-6

.This projection was developed to show the entire Earth withless distortion of area. However, this feature requires atradeoff in terms of inaccurate map direction anddistance.The

Figure 2a-7

).The final projection presented presents areas on a mapthat are proportional to the same areas on the actualsurface of the Earth (

Figure 2a-8

). However, this

Map Scale

Maps are rarely drawn at the same scale as the realworld. Most maps are made at a scale that is muchsmaller than the area of the actual surface beingdepicted. The amount of reduction that has taken placeis normally identified somewhere on the map. Thismeasurement is commonly referred to as the

.Conceptually, we can think of map scale as the ratio between the distance between any two points on themap compared to the actual ground distancerepresented. This concept can also be expressedmathematically as:On most maps, the map scale is represented by a simplefraction or ratio. This type of description of a map'sscale is called a

.For example, amap where one unit (centimeter, meter, inch, kilometer,etc.) on the illustration represents 1,000,000 of thesesame units on the actual surface of the Earth would havea representative fraction of 1/1,000,000 (fraction) or 1:1,000,000 (ratio). Of these mathematicalrepresentations of scale, the ratio form is mostcommonly found on maps.Scale can also be described on a map by a

verbalstatement

. For example, 1:1,000,000 could be verballydescribed as "1 centimeter on the map equals 10kilometers on the Earth's surface" or "1 inch representsapproximately 16 miles".Most maps also use

to describe thedistance relationships between the map and the realworld. In a graphic scale, an illustration is used to depictdistances on the map in common units of measurement(

Figure 2a-9

). Graphic scales are quite useful becausethey can be used to measure distances on a map quickly.Maps are often described, in a relative sense, as beingeither small scale or large scale.

Figure 2a-10

helps toexplain this concept. In

Figure 2a-10

, we have mapsrepresenting an area of the world at scales of 1:100,000,1:50,000, and 1:25,000. Of this group, the map drawn at1:100,000 has the smallest scale relative to the other twomaps. The map with the largest scale is map C which isdrawn at a scale of 1:25,000.(b). Location, Distance, and Direction on Maps

Location on Maps

Most

allow us to specify the location of points onthe Earth's surface using a coordinate system. For a two-dimensional map, this coordinate system can use simplegeometric relationships between the perpendicular axeson a grid system to define spatial location.

Figure 2b-1

illustrates how the location of a point can be defined ona coordinate system.Two types of coordinate systems are currently in generaluse in geography: the

and the

Cartesian

)

Geographical

Coordinate

System

measures locationfrom only two values, despite the fact that the locationsare described for a three-dimensional surface. The twovalues used to define location are both measured relativeto the

and

.

measures the north-south position of locationson the Earth's surface relative to a point found at thecenter of the Earth (

Figure 2b-2

). This central point isalso located on the Earth's rotational or

.Theequator is the starting point for the measurement of latitude. The equator has a value of zero degrees. A lineof latitude or

Figure 2b-3

). The maximum value that latitude canattain is either 90° North or South. These lines of latitude run parallel to the rotational axis of the Earth.

measures the west-east position of locationson the Earth's surface relative to a circular arc called the

(

Figure 2b-2

). The position of thePrime Meridian was determined by internationalagreement to be in-line with the location of the former astronomical observatory at Greenwich, England.Because the Earth's circumference is similar to circle, itwas decided to measure longitude in degrees. Thenumber of degrees found in a circle is 360. The PrimeMeridian has a value of zero degrees. A line of

Figure 2b-3

of longitude can have is 180° which is the distance halfwayaround a circle. This meridian is called the

. Designations of west and eastare used to distinguish where a location is found relativeto the Prime Meridian. For example, all of the locationsin North America have a longitude that is designatedwest.

Universal

Transverse

Mercator

System

(UTM)Another commonly used method to describe location onthe Earth is the

(

UTM

)

UTM

also uses the TransverseMercator projection system to model the Earth'sspherical surface onto a two-dimensional plane. The

UTM

system divides the world's surface into 60 - sixdegree longitude wide zones that run north-south(

Figure 2b-5

). These zones start at the InternationalDate Line and are successively numbered in an eastwarddirection (

Figure 2b-5

). Each zone stretches from 84° North to 80° South (

Figure 2b-4

). In the center of eachof these zones is a central meridian. Location ismeasured in these zones from a

which isdetermined relative to the intersection of the equator andthe central meridian for each zone. For locations in the Northern Hemisphere, the false origin is 500,000 meterswest of the central meridian on the equator. Coordinatemeasurements of location in the Northern Hemisphereusing the

UTM

(latitudinal distance). The point defined by theintersection of 50° North and 9° West would have a

UTM

coordinate of Zone

29

, 500000 meters east (E),5538630 meters north (N) (see

Figures 2b-4

and

2b-5

).In the Southern Hemisphere, the origin is 10,000,000meters south and 500,000 meters west of the equator and central meridian, respectively. The location found at50° South and 9° West would have a

UTM

coordinateof Zone

29

, 500000 meters E, 4461369 meters N(remember that northing in the Southern Hemisphere ismeasured from 10,000,000 meters south of the equator -see

Figures 2b-4

and

2b-5

).The UTM system has been modified to makemeasurements less confusing. In this modification, thesix degree wide zones are divided into smaller pieces or quadrilaterals that are eight degrees of latitude tall. Eachof these rows is labeled, starting at 80° South, with theletters C to X consecutively with I and O being omitted(

Figure 2b-5

). The last row X differs from the other rows and extends from 72 to 84° North latitude (twelvedegrees tall). Each of the quadrilaterals or grid zones areidentified by their number/letter designation. In total,1200 quadrilaterals are defined in the

UTM

system.The quadrilateral system allows us to further definelocation using the

UTM

system. For the location 50° North and 9° West, the

UTM

coordinate can now beexpressed as Grid Zone

29U

, 500000 meters E, 5538630meters N.Each

UTM

quadrilateral is further subdivided into anumber of 100,000 by 100,000 meter zones. Thesesubdivisions are coded by a system of letter combinations where the same two-letter combination isnot repeated within 18 degrees of latitude and longitude.Within each of the 100,000 meter squares one canspecify location to one-meter accuracy using a 5 digiteastings and northings reference system.The

UTM

grid system is displayed on all

United StatesGeological Survey

(

USGS

) and

National TopographicSeries

(

NTS

) of Canada maps. On USGS 7.5-minutequadrangle maps (1:24,000 scale), 15-minutequadrangle maps (1:50,000, 1:62,500, and standard-edition 1:63,360 scales), and Canadian 1:50,000 mapsthe

UTM

grid lines are drawn at intervals of 1,000meters, and are shown either with blue ticks at the edgeof the map or by full blue grid lines. On USGS maps at1:100,000 and 1:250,000 scale and Canadian 1:250,000scale maps a full

UTM

grid is shown at intervals of 10,000 meters.

Figure 2b-6

describes how the

UTM

grid system can be used to determine location on a1:50,000

National Topographic Series of Canada

map.

Distance on Maps

In

section

,w e have learned that depicting the Earth'sthree-dimensional surface on a two-dimensional mapcreates a number of distortions that involve distance,area, and direction. It is possible to create maps that aresomewhat equidistance. However, even these types of maps have some form of distance distortion.Equidistance maps can only control distortion alongeither lines of

or lines of

. Distance isoften correct on equidistance maps only in the directionof latitude.On a map that has a large scale, 1:125,000 or larger,distance distortion is usually insignificant. An exampleof a large-scale map is a standard topographic map. Onthese maps measuring straight line distance is simple.Distance is first measured on the map using a ruler. Thismeasurement is then converted into a real worlddistance using the map's scale. For example, if wemeasured a distance of 10 centimeters on a map that hada scale of 1:10,000, we would multiply 10 (distance) by

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