Coverage scales, text sizes and line widths for the standard U.S. map template have been set primarily with page size (8 1/2 by 11 inch) map products in mind. Coverages were set to scales that would make maximum use of the available space while still allowing sufficient room for titles, legends and other descriptive information. All coverages are in ALBERS EQUAL AREA projection using a NAD27 datum, a CLARKE1866 spheroid and map units in meters. The following coverages appear in the U.S. national standard template:
Map Position (x/y page coordinates. in inches)
U.S. Contiguous 48 States
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Guam and the Northern Marianas
*Some of our maps use an earlier version of the standard U.S. map template which shows Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands at a 1:20,000,000 scale.
Since the scales of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin (Guam, Northern Marianas, American Samoa) are set to 1:10,000,000, their areal extents are exaggerated four times relative to that of the U.S. 48 contiguous States and Hawaii at 1:20,000,000. Conversely, Alaska at 1:40,000,000 scale has an areal extent that is understated by four times relative to the U.S. 48 contiguous States and Hawaii. These compromises were made to keep polygon boundaries and internal polygon shading clearly discernable for the smallest polygons we typically use (counties, 8-digit hydrologic units, and Major Land Resource Areas) without unnecessarily exaggerating or understating the areal extent relative to the other coverages (beyond what is required to promote discernability). One ought keep in mind that, if Alaska were to be scaled the same as Puerto Rico or the Pacific Basin, it would appear 16 times larger than it now does.