We all use math everyday

by AJ
(Baltimore, MD)


People don't realize how often math comes up on a daily basis. Not just by making calculations but logical reasoning. I was in a map analysis class and we had to make a topographic map. All the students were struggling to find the distance across a parking lot that was filled with cars. But with simple trigonometry, our group found the distance in 15 minutes that later found out took the rest of the class 3 hours to measure.

Barry's Response - Yes, as you point out, AJ, there are all kinds of tricks of the trade. At least I refer to it as a trade because I work with maps almost everyday at work.

These days, I find it quite useful to do most of my work using Google Earth. With it you can use the little ruler icon to make measurements on the screen, in whichever units of measure you choose. Plus that tool provides you the angles of measurement in degrees relative to true north.

It always gave you the ability to read elevations directly off the map; just look below the display window. Did you know that it can be used to convert latitude/longitude from decimal-degree to degree-minute-second format, and even to Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) in seconds?
Select tools > options and the "general" tab.

Take note of the other functions and features available to you there. A surprising suite of tools. I haven't even used them all yet. Google Maps gives you access to view terrain plots for the immediate area if that's what you need, an both now allow you to use street view to view ground-level photographs of the area.

Lots o'fun indeed.

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