Scale Changes with Digital Data

All digital map data has a scale at which it was digitized, and at which it faithfully shows features. This scale provides a tradeoff between (1) excessive data storage requirements, and processing time to display and manipulate the data, and (2) accurate representation of the data.  There are times when you want to see the forest, and other times you want to see the trees, and a single data set might not efficiently accomplish both requirements.


More detail with raster data means smaller pixels, and more of them.  The more pixels goes up with the square of the improved resolution (1 m data requires 100 times more pixels than 10 m data).

Blowing up or zooming out with Raster Data:


More detail with vector data means more points to define the lines, with the points closer together.

Blowing up or zooming out with Vector Data:

Last revision 8/20/2019