If you want start drawing maps, including maps using MS PowerPoint, the first thing you have to decide is what is the map scale.
PowerPoint Canvas and Map Scale
I use a 1:10 scale for my maps. 1 cm on the PowerPoint map maps to 10cm on the table (about 4 inches).
I use this Map Scale because it fits within the canvas PowerPoint provides for an A3 or A4 sheet. Everything has to fit within the canvas available: you have to draw a grid for the table and fit within the canvas.
I use slides sized for: On-screen Show (4:3). This gives an canvas of 25.4 cm x 19.1 cm. The grid for a normal wargaming table of 180cm x 120cm (6’ x 4’) table has to fit within that canvas. At 1:10 Map Scale the table is 18cm x 12cm so comfortably fits the canvas.
1:10 also has the huge advantage that the calculations are easy. you want something to be 20cm on the table, then just divide by 10; you get 2cm on the map.
Implications of Map Scale on the Symbol Catalog
All the symbols within your Symbol Catalogue must match the grid of the table and associated map scale.
Given a 1:10 map scale some typical distances of interest are:
|Feature/Things||PowerPoint Map||Metric Table||Imperial Table|
|Grid on table layout||3cm||30cm||12 inches|
|Large area feature, e.g. large field would be 8″ x 8″||2cm||20cm||8 inches|
|Normal area feature, e.g. normal rough ground would be 6″ diameter||1.5cm||15cm||6 inches|
|Small area feature
or 4″ building sector
|3″ building sector||0.8cm||7.5cm||3 inches|
|Single Tree * (for Orchard or Wood)||0.5cm||5cm||2 inches|
|Crossfire Squad||0.3cm||3cm||1 1/4 inch|
|Single hedge shrub *||0.25cm||2.5cm||1 inch|
* Too small for a feature
Map Scale versus Ground Scale
Map Scale is different to the ground scale of the map or table. Map scale is from map to table. Ground scale is from map or table to actual landscape. For example with my 1:10 map scale and using a ground scale of 1:1000 for my tables (which is the most common scale I use) that means all of the following correspond to each other:
- 1mm on the map
- 10mm on the table
- 10,000mm of ground (10 metres)
Series of Blog Posts on MS PowerPoint Maps
This post is part of a series on using PowerPoint to Draw Maps. The series will cover:
- From CC2 to PowerPoint for Drawing Maps
- Choosing Map Scale
- Drawing table grids
- Creating a Symbol Catalogue for Crossfire
- Drawing Maps for Crossfire
- Creating a Symbol Catalogue for Optional Maps
- Drawing Maps for Operational Level Wargames
To make sure you see the rest of the Drawing Maps Series subscribe to the feed or by email, or follow @StevensBalagan on twitter.
1 thought on “PointPoint Maps: What Map Scale to Use?”
Thanks for posting this. Can’t wait for the next lesson.