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All maps will list their scales in the margin or legend. A scale of 1:250,000 (be it inches, feet, or meters) means that 1 unit on the map is the equivalent of 250,000 units in the real world. So 1 inch measured on the map would be the equivalent of 250,000 inches in the real world. Most USGS maps are either 1:24,000, also known as 7 ½ minute maps, or 1:62,500, known as 15 minute maps (the USGS is no longer issuing 15 minute maps although the maps will remain in print for some time).

Standard topographic maps are usually published in 7.5-minute quadrangles. The map location is given by the latitude and longitude of the southeast (lower right) corner of the quadrangle. The date of the map is shown in the column following the map name; a second date indicates the latest revision. Photo-revised maps have not been field checked.


Map Size Scale Covers Map to Landscape Metric
7½ Minute 1:24,000 1/8 of a degree 1 inch = 2,000 feet (3/8 mile)
2.64 inches = 1 mile
(1 centimeter = 240 meters)
15 minute 1:62,500 ¼ of a degree 1 inch = ~1 mile (1 centimeter = 625 meters)



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