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Scout INTRODUCTION 1 road map Examples of 1/50,000 maps LESSON PLAN INTRODUCTION TO MAP READING (45 Minutes)
Among the earliest written records of mankind are maps. Maps were essential for traveling extended distances and returning safely home and many an explorer and trader died because their maps were incorrect. Today’s maps are extremely accurate, and an ability to read them is an essential requirement of Scouting. PURPOSE AND MAIN IDEAS The purpose of this period of instruction is to introduce you to basic map reading. We will do this by covering: What a map is, Map scales, Map colors, Map symbols, Contour lines, Orienting a map, and Map grid coordinates. Upon completion of this period of instruction you will be able to: 1. Explain what a map is, explain map scales, explain what the
and determine an object’s location by UTM grid coordinates.) The two types of maps we are most likely to use are roadmaps and topographical maps. and the proper name for a mapmaker is cartographer. colors.000. which is Latin for chart drawer. Roadmaps are good for figuring out how to get from one town to another. like a piece of paper.” In plain English. Orient a map by inspection. Map Scales Map scales indicate how much area a map covers and are expressed as a fraction or ratio such as 1/24. we use a topographical map. and symbols. or a portion thereof. Interpret contour lines to identify hilltops.different colors used on a map indicate. and topographical maps. 3. drawn to scale on a plane. cliffs. road maps. but don’t help very much in the field. For that. valleys. 2. 2nd Main Idea: Map scales. air navigation maps. which is a detailed drawing of a small part of the ground. The . that means a map is a picture of the ground drawn on a flat surface. and interpret the symbols used on a map. BODY 1st Main Idea: What is a map? The official definition of a map states that “a map is a graphic representation of the earth’s surface.000 or 1:50. (Maps of the ocean and those used for air navigation are more correctly referred to as charts. Page 1 of 5 There are several different types of maps including maps of the ocean. and other terrain features.
000 map. Blue indicates bodies of water – lakes. a 1/24. plains. On a map with a scale of 1/50. 1 inch on the map equals 50. sand flats. etc. A series of broken blue lines with tufts of grass drawn over them indicates a marsh or swamp. and brown. on a map with a scale of 1/24. For example. etc. A solid black square or rectangle indicates an inhabited building such as a house. 1 inch on the map equals 24. black. Maps with smaller scales generally show more detail. Parallel dashed black lines indicate dirt roads large enough for vehicles.larger the second part of the number is. (Red is also used to show principal highways. Black indicates manmade features. rivers. bridges. Single dashed black lines indicate trails. White indicates areas that are mostly clear of trees – fields. paved or graveled). etc. it indicates an intermittent stream (that is. and other outbuildings. sheds.000. blue. a church. Hollow black squares or rectangles indicate barns. airports. trails. (NOTE: Principle roads are often shown in red or red and white also. jungles.. or a school.000 map will show more detail than a 1/50.e. etc. buildings. woods.000 inches on the ground. one that does not always have water in it). the more area is covered. That is. railroads. Map Colors Maps use five basic colors to indicate various features: green. streams. including roads. Parallel solid black lines indicate “improved” roads (i.000 inches on the ground.000. white.) Green indicates heavy vegetation – areas covered by forests.) . If a blue line is broken.
and at intervals along the line numbers are printed. you shouldn’t need a legend to recognize what the symbol means. Contour lines allow mapmakers to show the shape of the land. For example. valleys. but since the symbols are standardized. Most full size topographic maps will have a legend that identifies the symbols used on the map. and plains. Your handout shows some of the most common symbols. those that are farther apart indicate a more gentle slope. 3rd Main Idea: Contour Lines What are contour lines? Maps are flat. Contour Intervals A note in the margin of the map indicates how far apart the contour lines are spaced. Page 2 of 5 Map Symbols Map symbols are little pictures of things on the ground. Every fifth contour line is darker than the other four. Brown is used for contour lines. Each contour line on a map connects points that have the same elevation (height) above sea level. The numbers indicate the line’s elevation above sea level. Interpreting Contour Lines Contour lines that are close together indicate a steep slope. “contour interval 50 feet” each line is 50 feet higher or lower than the lines on either side of it. but the areas they represent might be full of hills. V-shaped contour lines indicate a stream or gully and the closed part of the V always points uphill. mountains. .
The first two digits of the number are taken from the line that forms the square’s left edge. The lines form a grid of squares. and another set is drawn up and down. A number on a hilltop indicates the elevation of the hilltop above sea level. Page 3 of 5 5th Main Idea: Map Coordinates Modern topographic maps use two main types of coordinates systems: latitude and longitude. with each square being 1000 meters wide and 1000 meters high. south is at the bottom. On maps using the UTM grid. a bridge. lines are drawn left to right across the map. and west is to the left. 4th Main Idea: Orienting a Map by Inspection Every topographical map and most other types of maps are drawn so that north is at the top. A four-digit grid coordinate identifies a 1000-meter square. A two-digit number identifies each of the lines. east is to the right. look out at the land for features such as buildings. Find the symbols for the same features on the map and then turn the map until the symbols on the map line up with the landscape features they represent.digit coordinate locates a point within . The UTM grid is the easiest to use. and the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) grid.Small circular contour lines indicate hilltops. The square can be further divided into 100 meter and 10 meter increments. or a prominent hill. Since north is at the top. a water tower. and that is what we will learn now. the last two digits are taken from the line that forms its bottom edge. A six. A four-digit number identifies each square. To more precisely orient the map.
000 scale. begin with the line that forms the left edge of the square (for example “19”) then count the number of 100 meter increments from the line to the point. Also. even though you have never seen the area they represent.100 meters. The rule for reading UTM grid coordinates is “read right up. NOTE: The UTM coordinates displayed by GPS unit have several “extra” numbers. Maps are scaled. If the point is 550 meters above the line. six. They can help you plan the best route. For general use. An eight-digit coordinate locates a point within 10 meters. start with the bottom coordinate first.000. so when using a GPS. The most common topographical map uses a 1/24. the GPS UTM grid coordinate for the fork in the road at the parking area is: 3564555 Northing 0419264 Easting The 1000-meter grid square is 1964 and the eight-digit map coordinate is 19266455.or eight-digit coordinates are all that are required. SUMMARY Maps are tools that you can use to find places you have never been to before and get you back to where you started. most GPS units display the “Northing” coordinate first.” That is. the second part of the coordinate (Northing) is 6455. then the “Easting” coordinate below it. You only need to use the last five digits of each coordinate. A ten-digit coordinate locates a point within 1 meter. If the point is 260 meters to the right of line 19.000 and 1/100. . For example. The whole eight-digit coordinate is 19266455. Next begin with the line that forms the bottom edge of the square (for example “64”) then count the number of 100 meter increments from the line to the point. the first part of the coordinate (Easting) is 1926. Other common scales are 1/50.
Modern topographic maps are drawn with north at the top. blue for water. A map is oriented by lining up features on the map with the actual features on the ground. and swamps. The spacing of contour lines indicates the steepness of a slope. roads. consisting of 1000 meter squares drawn on the map. an eight-digit coordinate locates it within 10 meters. A six. airports. black for manmade features and notes.The larger the number in the second part of the scale ratio. Every fifth contour line is a numbered index line. Standardized map symbols are used to represent various terrain features such as buildings. the more area the map covers. marshes. QUESTIONS FROM THE CLASS QUESTIONS TO THE CLASS . each square being identified by a four-digit number indicating its lower left corner.digit coordinate locates a point within 100 meters. Contour lines are used to show the shape of the land. The easiest coordinate system to use is the UTM grid. Page 4 of 5 Maps use five basic colors: green for heavy vegetation. trails. bridges. and brown for contour lines. white for cleared areas. Some maps use red to indicate major highways. and even 10meter increments. The square can be further divided into 100-meter increments.
Locate and circle the Great Lakes and circle Florida. Write the name of your state on the board. and rivers in the United States. Outline the shape o States on the globe. cities. locate the s features you located on the globe. lakes. L mark the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on the globe. Write the name United States o Write the word country on the board. On the map of the United States. country. Ask a student to locate the United States on the globe. and the two o Tell the students that we will use the United States Map to study about our country has fifty states. the Great Lakes. Ask the students if the United States is large enough to be seen well on th the students we want to see a large picture of the United States.Page 5 of 5 Introduction to the United States Map Objectives Vocabulary Materials Needed Lesson The students will identify a map of the United Sta United States Map. A state is an area of land that is part of our country name of the state. state United States map. Have the globe positioned so that States is facing the students. therefore map that only shows the United States. This is called a United States Map Pull down the map of the United States. map marker Ask the students the name of our country. Florida. A country is an area of land where pe under one government. When we stu states. we use the United Sta because it shows a bigger picture of the United States and is easier to rea . globe.
L mark the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on the globe. When we stu states. Write the name United States o Write the word country on the board. cities. Florida. we use the United Sta . therefore map that only shows the United States. state United States map. and rivers in the United States. A country is an area of land where pe under one government. and the two o Tell the students that we will use the United States Map to study about our country has fifty states. Locate and circle the Great Lakes and circle Florida. Ask the students if the United States is large enough to be seen well on th the students we want to see a large picture of the United States. lakes. Ask to find the state(s) to the right of your state. A state is an area of land that is part of our country name of the state. the Great Lakes. country. Outline the shape o States on the globe. This is called a United States Map Pull down the map of the United States.Locate and list the state(s) that touches your state. map marker Ask the students the name of our country. Write the name of your state on the board. Use spatial terms. Have the globe positioned so that States is facing the students. globe. Which state is to the left? Introduction to the United States Map Objectives Vocabulary Materials Needed Lesson The students will identify a map of the United Sta United States Map. Ask a student to locate the United States on the globe. On the map of the United States. locate the s features you located on the globe.
Australia. Hold the globe yourself and ask the students if they can see the "back side" of the globe. The disadvantage of the globe is you can only see half of it at a . Which state is to the left? Introduction to the World Map Objectives Vocabulary Materials Needed The students will identify the differences between the globe and the World Map. Use spatial terms. Antarctica. Explain that the best thing about the globe is that it shows the true shape of the continents and oceans. North America. World Map.because it shows a bigger picture of the United States and is easier to rea Locate and list the state(s) that touches your state. and postit-notes with these words Equator. World Map globe. Arctic Ocean Lesson Show the globe. South America. Atlantic Ocean. Pacific Ocean. Europe. Asia. Ask to find the state(s) to the right of your state. Indian Ocean. Africa.
Emphasize that the globe is the true shape of the Earth. One continent.time. Pull the map down the rest of the way to show the World Physical Map. Find the Equator on the World Map. Pass the globe among students. Show Greenland on the globe and compare it to Greenland on the map. Do the same for the oceans. Find and label the Equator on the globe. Have the students describe the similarities and differences between the World Map and the globe. . The same land and water areas are shown but shapes have changed. has very few people living there. Antarctica. Why? Locate and label each ocean. The entire continent of Antarctica is shown on the globe but not on the map. To see the whole world at one time we use a World Map. Pull down the World Political Map. Compare the labels on the World Physical Map with the post-it-notes the students have applied. Then have another student find the same continent on the map. Label each continent located on the map with the correct post-it-notes. Use the marking crayon and draw a line all the way around the globe at the Equator. Have one student find and name a continent on the globe. A World Map is a flat picture of the entire world. Have students place the stick-up word Equator on the World Map at the appropriate location. The continents are labeled on this map.