Sheet Name. The sheet name is found in bold print at the center of the top and in the lower left area of the map margin. A map is generally named for the largest settlement contained within the area covered by the sheet, or for the largest natural feature located within the area at the time the map was drawn.
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Sheet Number. The sheet number is found in bold print in both the upper right and lower left areas of the margin, and in the center box of the adjoining sheets diagram, which is found in the lower right margin. It is used as a reference number to link specific maps to overlays, operations orders, and plans. For maps at 1:100,000 scale and larger, sheet numbers are based on an arbitrary system that makes possible the ready orientation of maps at scales of 1:100,000, 1:50,000, and 1:25,000.
Series Name. The map series name is found in bold print in the upper left corner of the margin. The name given to the series is generally that of a major political subdivision such as a state within the United States or a European nation. A map series usually includes a group of similar maps at the same scale and on the same sheet lines or format designed to cover a particular geographic area. It may also be a group of maps that serve a common purpose such as the military city maps.
Scale. The scale is found both in the upper left margin after the series name, and in the center of the lower margin. The scale note is a representative fraction that gives the ratio of a map distance to the corresponding distance on the earth’s surface. For example, the scale note 1:50,000 indicates that one unit of measure on the map equals 50,000 units of the same measure on the ground.
Series Number. The series number is found in both the upper right margin and the lower left margin. It is a sequence reference expressed either as a four-digit numeral (1125) or as a letter, followed by a three- or four-digit numeral (M661, T7110).
Edition Number. The edition number is found in bold print in the upper right area of the top margin and the lower left area of the bottom margin. Editions are numbered consecutively; therefore, if you have more than one edition, the highest numbered sheet is the most recent. Most military maps are now published by the NGA, but older editions of maps may have been produced by the U.S. Army Map Service. Still others may have been drawn, at least in part, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey, or other agencies affiliated or not with the United States or allied governments. The credit line, telling who produced the map, is just above the legend. The map information date is found immediately below the word “LEGEND” in the lower left margin of the map. This date is important when determining how accurately the map data might be expected to match what you will encounter on the ground.
Index to Boundaries. The index to boundaries diagram appears in the lower or right margin of all sheets. This diagram, which is a miniature of the map, shows the boundaries that occur within the map area such as county lines and state boundaries.
Adjoining Sheets Diagram. Maps at all standard scales contain a diagram that illustrates the adjoining sheets. On maps at 1:100,000 and larger scales and at 1:1,000,000 scale, the diagram is called the index to adjoining sheets. It consists of as many rectangles representing adjoining sheets as are necessary to surround the rectangle that represents the sheet under consideration. The diagram usually contains nine rectangles, but the number may vary depending on the locations of the adjoining sheets. All represented sheets are identified by their sheet numbers. Sheets of an adjoining series, whether published or planned, that are at the same scale are represented by dashed lines. The series number of the adjoining series is indicated along the appropriate side of the division line between the series.
Elevation Guide. The elevation guide is normally found in the lower right margin. It is a miniature characterization of the terrain shown. The terrain is represented by bands of elevation, spot elevations, and major drainage features. The elevation guide provides the map reader with a means of quick recognition of major landforms.
Declination Diagram. The declination diagram is located in the lower margin of large-scale maps and indicates the angular relationships of true north, grid north, and magnetic north. On maps at 1:250,000 scale, this information is expressed as a note in the lower margin. In recent edition maps, there is a note indicating the conversion of azimuths from grid to magnetic and from magnetic to grid next to the declination diagram.
Bar Scales. Bar scales are located in the center of the lower margin. They are rulers used to convert map distance to ground distance. Maps have three or more bar scales, each in a different unit of measure. Care should be exercised when using the scales, especially in the selection of the unit of measure that is needed.
Contour Interval Note. The contour interval note is found in the center of the lower margin normally below the bar scales. It states the vertical distance between adjacent contour lines of the map. When supplementary contours are used, the interval is indicated. In recent edition maps, the contour interval is given in meters instead of feet.
Spheroid Note. The spheroid note is located in the center of the lower margin. Spheriods (ellipsoids) have specific parameters that define the X Y Z axis of the earth. The spheriod is an integral part of the datum.
Grid Note. The grid note is located in the center of the lower margin. It gives information pertaining to the grid system used and the interval between grid lines, and it identifies the UTM grid zone number.
Projection Note. The projection system is the framework of the map. For military maps, this framework is of the conformal type; that is, small areas of the surface of the earth retain their true shapes on the projection; measured angles closely approximate true values; and the scale factor is the same in all directions from a point. The projection note is located in the center of the lower margin. (Refer to NGA for the development characteristics of the conformal-type projection systems.)
(1) Between 80 degrees south and 84 degrees north, maps at scales larger than 1:500,000 are based on the transverse Mercator projection. The note reads TRANSVERSE MERCATOR PROJECTION.
(2) Between 80 degrees south and 84 degrees north, maps at 1:1,000,000 scale and smaller are based on standard parallels of the lambert conformal conic projection. The note reads, for example, LAMBERT CONFORMAL CONIC PROJECTIONS 36 DEGREES 40′ N AND 39 DEGREES 20′ N.
(3) Maps of the polar regions (south of 80 degrees south and north of 84 degrees north) at 1:1,000,000 and larger scales are based on the polar stereographic projection. The note reads POLAR STEREOGRAPHIC PROJECTION.
Vertical Datum Note. The vertical datum note is located in the center of the lower margin. The vertical datum or vertical-control datum is defined as any level surface taken as a surface of reference from which to determine elevations. In the United States, Canada, and Europe, the vertical datum refers to the mean sea level surface. However, in parts of Asia and Africa, the vertical-control datum may vary locally and is based on an assumed elevation that has no connection to any sea level surface. Map readers should habitually check the vertical datum note on maps, particularly if the map is used for lowlevel aircraft navigation, naval gunfire support, or missile target acquisition.
Horizontal Datum Note. The horizontal datum note is located in the center of the lower margin. The horizontal datum or horizontal-control datum is defined as a geodetic reference point (of which five quantities are known: latitude, longitude, azimuth of a line from this point, and two constants, which are the parameters of reference ellipsoid). These are the basis for horizontal-control surveys. The horizontal-control datum may extend over a continent or be limited to a small local area. Maps and charts produced by NGA are produced on 32 different horizontal-control data. Map readers should habitually check the horizontal datum note on every map or chart, especially adjacent map sheets, to ensure the products are based on the same horizontal datum. If products are based on different horizontal-control data, coordinate transformations to a common datum must be performed. UTM coordinates from the same point computed on different data may differ as much as 900 meters.
Control Note. The control note is located in the center of the lower margin. It indicates the special agencies involved in the control of the technical aspects of all the information that is disseminated on the map.
Preparation Note. The preparation note is located in the center of the lower margin. It indicates the agency responsible for preparing the map.
Printing Note. The printing note is also located in the center of the lower margin. It indicates the agency responsible for printing the map and the date the map was printed. The printing data should not be used to determine when the map information was obtained.
Grid Reference Box. The grid reference box is normally located in the center of the lower margin. It contains instructions for composing a grid reference.
Unit Imprint and Symbol. The unit imprint and symbol is on the left side of the lower margin. It identifies the agency that prepared and printed the map with its respective symbol. This information is important to the map user in evaluating the reliability of the map.
Legend. The legend is located in the lower left margin. It illustrates and identifies the topographic symbols used to depict some of the more prominent features on the map. The symbols are not always the same on every map. Always refer to the legend to avoid errors when reading a map.
Not all maps contain the same items of marginal information. Under certain conditions, special notes and scales may be added to aid the map user.
Glossary. The glossary is an explanation of technical terms or a translation of terms on maps of foreign areas where the native language is other than English.
Classification. Certain maps require a note indicating the security classification. This is shown in the upper and lower margins.
Protractor Scale. The protractor scale may appear in the upper margin on some maps. It is used to lay out the magnetic-grid declination for the map, which, in turn, is used to orient the map sheet with the aid of the lensatic compass.
Coverage Diagram. On maps at scales of 1:100,000 and larger, a coverage diagram may be used. It is normally in the lower or right margin and indicates the methods by which the map was made, dates of photography, and reliability of the sources. On maps at 1:250,000 scale, the coverage diagram is replaced by a reliability diagram.
Special Notes. A special note is any statement of general information that relates to the mapped area. It is normally found in the lower right margin. For example: This map is red-light readable.
User’s Note. The user’s note is normally located in the lower right-hand margin. It requests cooperation in correcting errors or omissions on the map. Errors should be marked and the map forwarded to the agency identified in the note.
Stock Number Identification. All maps published by the NGA that are in the Department of the Army map supply system contain stock number identifications that are used in requisitioning map supplies. The identification consists of the words “STOCK NO” followed by a unique designation that is composed of the series number, the sheet number of the individual map and, on recently printed sheets, the edition number. The designation is limited to 15 units (letters and numbers). The first 5 units are allotted to the series number; when the series number is less than 5 units, the letter “X” is substituted as the fifth unit. The sheet number is the next component; however, Roman numerals, which are part of the sheet number, are converted to Arabic numerals in the stock number. The last 2 units are the edition number; the first digit of the edition number is a zero if the number is less than 10. If the current edition number is unknown, the number 01 is used. The latest available edition will be furnished. Asterisks are placed between the sheet number and the edition number when necessary to ensure there are at least 11 units in the stock number.
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Conversion Graph. Normally found in the right margin, the conversion graph indicates the conversion of different units of measure used on the map.