A Surveyor’s Compass & Other Instruments For Cartographers

If you have a love of surveying and maps, perhaps you should try your hand at amateur cartography. A few simple tools might be all that you need to create maps of your favorite spots around the globe. It could be as simple as mapping out your favorite trails at a local natural area or creating cool fun maps of your town. While you could use a handy computer program to create your maps, this takes away some of the fun and challenge of cartography.

To get started with mapmaking, you first should learn all you can about the types of maps that you can create. There are physical maps, political maps, thematic maps and much more and each one has a special purpose. A political showcases boundaries and you might use tools such as a surveyor’s compass, a theodolite and accessories such as a Jacob staff or compass tripod to help you create this type of map. Likewise, a physical map, which shows physical land features such as mountains and rivers, might require the use of these tools. A thematic map, as the name suggests, has its own unique theme, such as a map showing where to find local bookstores or antique shops.

If you are completing a map that will be used to provide people with directional information, such as a road map or perhaps a hiking map, it is imperative that you consider creating a map that is as accurate as possible. With these maps, tools such as the compass tripod and surveyor’s compass can be invaluable resources. For more casual maps, such as a thematic map, accuracy might not be as important. For instance, if you are create a thematic map listing all of the pubs in your town, the map could identify streets and landmarks, but doesn’t necessarily need to be completely accurate to provide useful information.

If you are unfamiliar with surveying tools and cartographer tools, it is a good idea to learn about them and to use them. For instance, let’s begin with the surveyor’s compass. Some people also call this device a circumferentor and it is used to measure horizontal angles. This was the tool of choice for surveyors for many centuries; although today’s professional surveyors are more likely to use a device known as a theodolite. Still, a theodolite is bulky, so it is much easier to carry the surveyor’s compass.

You can mount a surveyor’s compass on a special pole known as a Jacob staff or perhaps use a compass tripod. These make it easier for your take measurements. Other types of compasses also might be helpful for your map-making endeavors. If you don’t wish to make calculations yourself, using online maps can help you create your own hand-drawn accurate maps.

For those who wish to truly create their own unique maps, it also will be important for you to invest in quality drawing equipment and perhaps some drafting tools. Items such as a protractor or compass can be helpful, and you also might want to purchase high-quality paper or parchment for your final map designs.

Carey Bourdier enjoys writing about precision scientific instruments. For more information about surveying products such as a surveyor compass, or to find other alignment instruments, visit the Warren Knight website today.


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