General Map Skills Worksheet
Complete the following activity related to topographic map reading and use. Use your
available resources and the map you are given to answer the questions. Some internet
resources are included. Remember sites change so they may not work but try later to see
if the site was only busy or temporarily out of service. Searching for key ideas on the
internet can also aid in your work.
1. What is the name of the topographic map you are using? _____________________
2. What is the name of the map that joins your map to the southwest? ________________
3. What is the name of the map that joins your map to the north? ___________________
4. What is the date of the most recent updating of information on your map? __________
Why is this knowledge important to using the information from your map?
5. What is the magnetic declination for your map? _______________
What is magnetic declination and why is it important to consider when using a
topographic map? (http://mac.usgs.gov/mac/isb/pubs/factsheets/fs03501.html)
6. Identify the colors used to represent the following features on a topographic map.
Urban areas __________________ (houses omitted)
Major roads ________________
Man made features _____________
Revised information _____________
7. What is the scale of the map you are using? ______________________
Draw a copy of the graphic scale from your map using the correct sizes and complete
with distance labels. On the diagram show a distance of 1.0 miles by making a tic mark
labeled A and A’ at the beginning and end of the distance. Similarly, use B to mark a
distance of 0.4 miles, C a distance of 1.8 miles, and D to mark a distance of 2.0 miles.
8. Complete the chart below indicating the values in degrees, minutes and seconds.
Map Corner Latitude Longitude
9. Find the hash or tic marks for latitude and longitude on the map. Describe how they are
spaced in terms of degrees, minutes, and seconds.
10. What is the meaning of minutes and seconds when used with degrees for latitude and
11. What is the difference in latitude side to side on the map? ____________ and
longitude side to side? _______________ Is the map square? ________ Explain how this
shape compares to the differences in the latitude and longitude?
12. Complete the table below for locations on your map. Use degrees, minutes, and
Location Latitude Longitude
13. What is the straight-line distance between _____________ and ______________?
______________ What is the distance along the road? __________________________