I am working on an ArcEngine program that is restricted to a set of scales. It currently has:


I don't think there's anything wrong with my scales, but I thought it would be interesting to know if there are any "standard" sets of scales used in web mapping or any other mapping applications.

5 Answers 5


Knowing which map scales match the zoom levels is important because sometimes caching a map takes a long time. If there’s any error in symbology or labeling settings for a certain zoom level, that map scale will need to be re-cached, which could take a lot of time. By browsing into the folders where the cached image tiles are stored, you can preview the tiles and verify that they look good. If they don’t, cancel the caching process, fix the map document, and re-start the caching process.

the above statement has taken from How can you tell what map scales are shown for online maps?, you can get more info here. and the following scales are from arcgis which i have been using for a long time that I have not had any difficulties so far...

if you want to mashup your maps with Google Map or sth else, you should use this map ranges:


i hope it helps you


Web mercator and a specific set of scales have been adopted by all major mapping providers. Fo r more information on the choice behind using web mercator, see Why has Web Mercator (auxiliary sphere) become the web map standard?

The standard scales used by mapping providers are also well established. They are available several places online. I always reference one of the tiled services hosted on services.arcgisonline.com, for instance: http://services.arcgisonline.com/ArcGIS/rest/services/World_Street_Map/MapServer

The scales are listed under tile info/levels of detail section.


As Derek mentioned, the Google Maps scale are the de-facto standard for web mapping. But there definitely are some situations, in which you can't use those scales and projection.

Firstly, you should use those scales and coordinate system that matches with other online Web maps and services. In our case, we had to work with services which are in a certain projection that has been chosen as a National Standard. This is an LCC projection, and hence we have had to use a different coordinate system and scales.

Secondly, according to our national map policy, there are certain features that we cannot show beyond a certain scale. Hence we had to chose a scale level which met our statutory requirement.

So to conclude, the only standards that you should be concerned about, are those that you will have to interact with.


Surveyors (at least in our country) often use these scales...


...maybe you want to add them to your list.


I think you need to be careful when dealing with "scale" in GIS. Many people don't understand that the scale of a map relates to the scale of its capture and not the scale of it display. My advice is that the scales you choose should be linked to the metadata of the map you're displaying. I used to make the point to my students that no matter how many times you enlarge a tourist map of a country, local streets do not appear!

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