What does BOLTSS stand for?

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BOLTSS is the name given to essential parts of a map that are often not included in or on the map.

  • B: Border - To show the edges of the map. The limits of the area covered by the map. There is usually (but not always) an overlap of the borders of adjoining maps of the same series.


  • O: Orientation - To show which way is north, usually directed with a compass An indication of north, usually by an arrow pointing to the top of the map. If there is no arrow the top of the map is assumed to be north. Also can mean aligning the map to features on the ground (north south east west).


  • L: Legend (Or Key) - To explain the symbols used on the map. Symbols on the map that represent natural or artificial features on the ground. (Also known as a key)


  • T: Title - To tell the reader what the map is for or what place is drawn on it. The name of the map identifying the geographic area that it covers.


  • S: Scale - To give the reader an idea of the distances shown on the map. A linear and/or ratio indicating distance on the map to distance on the ground.


  • (There are 3 types of ways you can represent scale on a map. The 1st way is by words, the 2nd way is by ratio and the last way is linear.



  • S: Source - To provide the source of the information on which the map has been based.
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