Frequently asked question

How does an engineering scale relate to the scale in ArcMap?

Last Published: April 25, 2020


This question is most frequently related to files created in a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program.

An engineering scale, expressing scale as an inch on the map being equal to a number of feet or meters on the ground, must be converted to a proportional scale when the CAD data is to be used in ArcMap.

To convert the following engineering scale:

1" = 400' for use in ArcMap,

multiply the number of feet, in this case 400, by 12 to convert the feet to inches.

This yields a scale in ArcMap of 1:4800.

This is a proportional scale, in which the units on both sides of the colon (:) are the same.

1" = 4800"
1' = 4800'
1 meter = 4800 meters

If the engineering scale is expressed as

1" = 100 meters,

multiply the number of meters by 39.37, the number of inches in a meter. The proportional scale would then be:


Article ID:000008600

  • ArcMap

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