Scale factor

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scale factor

(Also called map scale, map factor.) The ratio between the distance separating two points on a map of the earth's surface at a standard latitude (or latitudes) and the distance between the corresponding points on the earth's surface itself.

For most map projections, this factor is a slowly varying function of latitude, and for synoptic- chart base maps it is usually of the order of 10-6 to 10-7. The scale factor is sometimes defined as the reciprocal of the above ratio.
Compare conformal map.

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