Photo of the coastline of Acadia National Park.

The Coastline Paradox: Why Measuring Coastlines isn’t that Simple

Caitlin Dempsey

The coastline paradox is the concept that the measured length of a coastline will change depending on the scale of the GIS data used for the measurement.

Marina del Rey area on a county map of the state of California.

Understanding Map Scale

Caitlin Dempsey

Map scale refers to the ratio between the distance on a map and the corresponding distance on the Earth's surface.