Module M09 - Participatory Scale Mapping and Surveying

Unit M09U02 - Data Collection for Scale Mapping


This Unit begins with an overview of different tools and methods for collecting data to make scale maps. It provides a perspective on how methods may be selected according to the needs of the mapping project and how they may be combined or progress into each other.

The rest of the Unit looks at concepts relating to data quality. The validity and credibility of a scale map rests on the quality of data that go into it. Key elements of data integrity are the concepts of traceability, consistency and verifiability. Making and presenting a scale map attracts scrutiny regarding the precision of the data and the accuracy of the map. Concepts of resolution, precision and accuracy are discussed.

There are basic principles for recording data to ensure that the data can be effectively used to make a credible map. When working in the field, observations need to be written in a clear, concise and systematic way so they are legible for the map makers to work with in drawing the map.

Unit objectives / expected outcomes

After completion of the Unit the trainee will be able to:

  • describe a variety of simple and complex ways to make scale maps;
  • select an appropriate method of data collection for making scale maps for a particular situation;
  • discuss and apply concepts and best practices for quality data collection;
  • make legible, complete, systematic field survey notes.

Content outline, main topics covered and suggested sequencing

This Unit focuses on the topics listed below:

  1. Data quality and taking field notes (PPT No. 1: Data Collection for Scale Mapping) (40 min)
  2. Exercise in drawing to scale (Exercise No. 1: Table-top Maps) (30–40 min)
  3. Exercise showing the effectiveness of sketches in taking field notes (Exercise No. 2: Sketch vs. Text) (20 min)
  4. A variety of field sketches (Exercise No. 3: Field Sketches) (40–110 min. depending on which sketches are performed)

Components of the Unit


Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in printed format):



2–3 hours

Additional trainer resources

  • Flavelle, Alix. 2002. Mapping Our Lands: A guide to making maps of our own communities and traditional lands. Lone Pine Foundation, Edmonton, Canada.
  • Tobias, Terry. 2000. Chief Kerry’s Moose: A guidebook to land use and occupancy mapping, research design and data collection. Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and Ecotrust, Vancouver, Canada.
  • McCall, Mike. 2006. Precision for whom? Mapping ambiguity and certainty in (participatory) GIS. In: Participatory Learning and Action 54: Mapping for change: practice, technologies and communication. London, IIED and Wageningen, The Netherlands, CTA. View PDF
  • Foote, K. and Huebner D. 2000. Error, Accuracy and Precision.

Equipment needed

Computer and beamer, notebook, pencil and eraser for each participant, table or flat ground surface to work on, graph paper, ruler, (tape measure if making larger layouts on the ground), 10 or so objects of different size and shape to be placed around on the surface.

Additional downloads