Cartography Study - Learning how to survey and make maps
The following information was compiled to organize a study for learning about maps and how to make them (Cartography). The topics are for upper elementary or middle level. Students should have previously learned beginning map skills and concepts of relative position and motion. The information includes activities and questions to review map skills and moves into learning different strategies for mapping places and making maps.
- Real life application
- Useful to locate places and objects
- Increase visual and spatial reasoning
- Provides information about places
- Inexpensive to acquire
- Develop reasoning and problem solving
- Develop math and science concepts and skills
- Devleop logic, critical thinking, and problem solving
Concepts, generalizations and subconcepts
1. Distance can be measured by pacing
- The length of a person’s pace may vary.
- The average of a person’s pace can be used to measure between two places by counting the number of paces and using that with the average length of the pace to measure the distance.
- A person can measure the length of a pace by counting the number of paces a person makes over a known distance and find an average.
2. The position of an object can be located from a baseline if the distance along the baseline, from a benchmark/ datum, is known and the distance to a point at a 90-degree angle from the baseline.
- A baseline is a straight line from a benchmark/ datum.
- A baseline can be visualized with a string or cord attached to a benchmark/ datum and pulled straight.
3. Positions of objects or features can be located to a benchmark/ datum, by triangulation.
- Triangulation is a procedure used to locate positions by dividing a region into a series of triangular pieces based on lines of known length that intersect at the point to be located; and the other ends of the lines join the base of a triangle of known length between a benchmark/ datum and another know point (another selected benchmark/ auxiliary datum).
4. Positions of objects can be located from a benchmark/ datum with a direction (azimuth) and distance.
- Direction of an object can be measured in degrees using a transit located at a benchmark to measure the angle of declination from north (azimuth).
- Distance can be measured from the same benchmark to the object using paces or measuring cord.
5. Contours can be mapped by measuring distance from a baseline.
- Baseline is used to measure contours. It can be made by extending a cord over the contour so that it is level with the Earth, measuring intervals of distances from a benchmark/ datum/ (start of the baseline) along the cord and then measuring the distance from the points on the cord of each interval distance to the point on the contour directly below (perpendicular to) the cord/baseline.
6. The height of a tree, flagpole, building or some other object can be measured with a grade/slope/angle/ and a known distance.
7. The grade/slope/angle of a surface can be measured with a clinometer or slope measuring device as in the diagram below.
Azimuth, the distance in degrees (angular) from a fixed direction (north) baseline is a straight line from a benchmark.
Baseline is used to measure contours. It can be made by extending a cord over the contour so that it is level with the Earth, measuring intervals of distances from a benchmark/ datum/ (start of the baseline) along the cord and then measuring the distance from the points on the cord of each interval distance to the point on the contour directly below (perpendicular to) the cord/baseline.
Benchmark is a known location, see datum
Clinometer is an instrument used to measure vertical angles. Directions to make a clinometer.
Datum is a point, line, or surface used as a reference point.
Declination is a deviation from a specific direction or standard.
Degree is a unit of longitude or latitude. Which is 1/360th the circumference of the Earth or a circle.
Grade is the degree of inclination/ slope of a road or other surface.
Gradient is the rate of inclination/ slope of a road or other surface
Pace is the distance of a step a) a stride or step, about 30 inches. b) a point measured from where the heel of one foot lifts off the ground to the point where it is put down again after the step of the other foot, or five Roman feet or 58.1 inches.
Transit is an instrument to measure horizontal and vertical angles.
Traverse is the line or web of lines created by sighting and measuring when surveying a tract of land.
Triangulation is a procedure used to locate positions by dividing a region into a series of triangular pieces based on lines of known length that intersect at an unknown point with the other ends joining at the base of a triangle of known length between a benchmark and another known point (selected benchmark/ auxiliary datum)
Vocabulary and activities to review background information
Background knowledge and vocabulary
- Antarctic Circle
- Arctic Circle
- compass - directional
- compass - circle drawing implement
- key - map
- line segment
- relative position
- Tropic of Cancer
- Tropic of Capricorn
Skills and other things to know
- Identify geographical aspects of the land (mountains, deserts, plains, swamps, lakes, rivers, oceans
- Locate positions on a map
- How to locate points using one distance and one direction
- How to calculate Earth distances from a scale on a map
- How to locate points using two distances
- Determine direction from a map
- How to locate points using two directions
- How to draw Earth distances to scale on a map.
- How to use a contour map
Types of maps
- rainfall amounts
- climatic maps
- political: countries, states, provinces, counties, territories, ...
- land use
- raw materials
- manufacturing centers
- agricultural areas
- transportation maps
- population maps
- historical maps
Review of maps and map reading Investigation
Get a local map or a state map. In groups of alone, explore it. Use the following form, to write questions, answer them, exchange yours with another student or group, complete each set, exchange back and discuss.
- Find points of interest. Find and identify points of interest and estimate how many are on the map: cities, people, towns, lakes, rivers, camping areas, parks, capitals, museums, schools, …
- Find and make a list of your top ten points of interest.
- Make a graph of cities by their first letter.
- Make a graph of cities according to the number of syllables they have.
- Make a graph by how many cities in each county.
- Which city has the most letters, vowels, consonants, …
- Locate cities by coordinate pairs (15 K) use colored yarn to show (red, yellow)
- Locate positions by latitude and longitude
- What is the higest elevation?
- What is the higest lowest?
- How many time zones?
More math and geography investigations or projects
- What is the cost to build a mile of interstate, other road…
- How much did interstate …………. cost?
- Highway …….. cost?
- What percent of each border is land? water? bordering state …………… , state ………...
- If you left at ………. and traveled to …………. about what time would you arrive (not breaking any speed limits now).
- If the Mormons left Omaha on ………. and traveled ………… miles a day where would they be on ……………
- If a person left on the Oregon trail and traveled ____ miles a day, when would they arrive in Oregon?
Moving beyond using maps to Making Maps - Cartography
Locate the Camp ground map and use it to answer these questions:
Questions for Camp Map
- If you were at the pump which of the following could you see better?
- a. ball field
- b. head of the woods trail
- c. the flag pole
- d. the dock
- What direction is cabin F from cabin B?
- Using the pump and flagpole as a base line locate the cave.
- Starting at the flagpole use one direction (azimuth) and distance to locate the cave.
- How many meters long is the sidewalk from the parking lot to the lodge?
- What direction is the ball field from the lodge?
- What are the dimensions of the lodge?
- Use an azimuth (direction from north) and direction to locate the meteorite.
- What cabin is directly east of C?
- What cabin is west of F?
- Why can’t you locate the ball field?
- What is located on the lake?
- What is the scale of this map?
- Where does the needle of a compass point?
- One cm on the scale is how many meters?
- In real life 1 m = cm
- In real life 1 km = m
- In real life 1 m = mm
Bonus Question 1 inch on the map is equal to how many inches on the Earth?
Locate themap and use it to answer these questions:
- What direction is point B from point A?
- Using points A and B as a baseline locate point C.
- Starting at point C use one direction and one distance to locate point D.
- How many meters from C to E?
- Use an azimuth and a direction to locate point C from point B.
- What point is south of B?
- What point is west of B?
- What direction is D from C?
- What direction is A from C?
- What direction is C from A?
- What direction is C from E?
- What are the dimensions of the house?
Bonus: Which two of the following are in the Northern Hemisphere?
Arctic Circle, Antarctica Circle, Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn
Review some Cartography vocabulary
Match the word on the left to the symbol or definition on the right.
Note symbols for some of the answers change depending on the browser...
|1. angle||a. device to measure angles on paper|
|2. parallel||b. device to sight angles on Earth (flat sort of)|
|3. ray||c. device to sight angles generated from earth up|
|4. line||d. ⊾|
|5. triangle||e. 1 cm = 1 km|
|6. protractor||f. ⊥|
|7. key||g. north|
|9. clinometer||i. instrument that ponts to magnetic north|
|10. transit||j. ∆|
|11. equator||k. a small unit of angular measure|
|12. scale||l. Ð|
|13. compass||m. -|
|14. point||n. //|
|15. line segment||o. this tells what the symbols on a map stand for|
|16. degree||p. an imaginary line that cuts the Earth in half north to south|
|17. direction||q. ↔|
Study Investigation for making maps (Cartography)
Materials: String or cord to make a measuring cord that is at least 50 meters long and something to wind it up on. Magnetic compass, clinometer or protractor, straw, string, and washer to make one. Transit or materials to make one wood or cardboard 10 inches square, 360 degree polar coordinate, nail, pointer.
Plan to make a photo log to document your drawings, maps, notes, and photographs.
- Use a page (electronic or 8 1/2 x 11 inch white paper) to paste a photo related to the exercise.
- Use at least one page for each exercise.
- Title each page and label each photograph so that all references can be located in pictures.
- Be sure the word processer numbers the pages.
- Include a title page containing: a title and group member names
- Include a table of contents.
- If it is not electronic, add a heavy paper cover, back page and bind, staple, or other kind of permanent fastener.
Use the following activities to solve problems with maps, measure, make maps, and use maps for finding points of interest or orienteering. Document your investigations in a photo log with drawings, notes and photographs.
Suggested activity sequence
- Measuring steps - Step investigation to determine step spans
- Pace measuring places
- Use points of interest as benchmarks, baselines, and points to locate objects and points of interest with: two distances, one distance and direction or angle and distance, and two directions
- Locate the Treasure? map and find its location
- Use the map and locate Where to build a house along the river
- Use the Lost at sea map and problem and locate the lost.
- Six ways to measure height
- Make a clinometer
- Measure the height of a grain elevator, tall building, or water tower with a clinometer
- Calculate the height of an object from its shadow