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2. Digital Mapping Tasks and Tools > 2.1. Common Mapping Tasks

Common Mapping Tasks

The process that produces a map requires three basic tasks: quantifying observations, locating the position of your observations, and visualizing the locations on a map. Digital tools have made these tasks more efficient and more accurate.

Quantifying observations

Measuring equipment such as laser range finders or imaging satellites provide discrete measurements that are less affected by personal interpretations. Traditional observations, such as manual photo interpretation or drawing features by hand, tend to introduce a biased view of the subject.

Locating positions of observations

Geographic referencing tools such as GPS receivers link on-the-earth locations to common mapping coordinate systems such as latitude and longitude. They calculate the receiver’s location using satellite-based signals that help the GPS receiver calculate its location relative to satellites whose positions are well known. They act as a type of digital benchmark rather than using traditional survey or map referencing (best guess) methods. Traditional astronomical measurements or ground-based surveying techniques were useful but we now have common, consistent, and unbiased methods for calculating location.


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