Alaska and Hawaii are not to scale

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Senior Member
Hi there,

The note on the attachment says: Alaska and Hawaii are not to scale. But the way I see it, Alaska is only not in the right place (not "not to scale"). Could anyone tell me what exactly "not to scale" means here?

Thanks in advance.


  • Barque

    It means that the distances between the three regions, Alaska, Hawaii and the contiguous United States are not shown to scale. Alaska and Hawaii are represented as closer than they actually are to reduce the size of the map.


    Senior Member
    If they say it's not to scale, then they are probably right :) Alaska does look smaller to me than it actually is as compared to the rest of the USA.

    "Not to scale", especially on a map, must be taken literally.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    Boozer is correct

    A map "scale" refers to the size of the image on the map compared with the actual size of whatever is represented.

    For example: If the map scale is 1:250,000 it means that something is an inch (2.5 cm) wide on the map, it really is 250,000 inches (635000 cm) wide.

    If something on a map is said to be "not to scale," it means that object is of a different scale than the main map.

    It has nothing whatsoever to do with the position of objects on the map.

    Whether the map maker used the term properly, I cannot say.

    Jam on toast

    Senior Member
    British English
    I also agree with Boozer and sdgraham. Alaska looks too small, and Hawaii too big, for the scale of the rest of the USA on the map.
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