# Area and grid reference

A video detailing the difference and purpose of area and grid reference on topographic maps.

This video:

• provides a visual representation of eastings and northings in detail
• demonstrates how to find a feature in an area using grid reference and a legend of a topographic map
• demonstrates six-figure grid reference
• provides an explanation of how to break down each area reference into tenths to locate a place more accurately.

Watch 'Area and grid reference' video (3:32).

This episode outlines the difference and purpose of grid reference

### Transcript of Area and reference

[Music playing]

[Screen shows a blue sky with clouds. Text on the screen reads, ‘Curriculum Secondary Learners – HSIE. Area and grid reference. Presented by Melissa Ellis’.]

## Melissa Ellis

Hello. In this video, we are learning about area and grid reference.

[Presenter is standing in front of a decorative background. In the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, the text reads, ‘Melissa Ellis. HSIE Curriculum Support Project Officer’.]

We use area and grid references on topographic maps to find information quickly. An area reference is a four-figure reference. A grid reference is a more detailed six-figure reference point.

We use area reference to find a general area on a topographic map and describe or observe what's in the area. We use six-figure grid references to pinpoint an exact location and state what is located there. Here are the rules for area and grid references.

[Screen shows a bird’s-eye view of centimetre grid paper on top of a notepad. On the grid paper, the presenter has drawn a 10 centimetre by 10-centimetre square. On the vertical sides of the square, the presenter has written the numbers 28 through to 37 in ascending order, with one number on each grid line. On the horizontal lines of the square, the presenter has written the numbers 21 through to 30 in ascending order, with one number on each grid line. There are two straight red lines drawn through the middle of the square – one horizontal line and one vertical line. The vertical line has an arrow pointing to it and is labelled ‘Eastings’. The horizontal line has an arrow pointing to it and is labelled ‘Northings’.]

Vertical lines are called eastings.

[Presenter points to the red vertical line.]

They run parallel up and down, east to west, across the map.

[Presenter points to the numbers at the top of the square. They point to each number, going from left to right.]

Horizontal lines are called northings.

[Presenter points to the red horizontal line.]

They run parallel across the map, north to south.

[Presenter points to the numbers on the right-hand side of the square. They point to each number, going from top to bottom.]

When we write the area or grid reference down, we write eastings before northings.

[Presenter points to where the two red lines intersect. They point to the word ‘Eastings’, followed by the word ‘Northings’.]

How do we remember this? A rule of thumb – always follow alphabetical rules. E before N.

[Screen shows presenter standing in front of a decorative background.]

Now, let's take a look at some area references on our map.

[Screen shows a street map of East Ballina. There are grid references on the map. The eastings numbers are 49, 50, 57, 58, 59 and 60. The northings numbers are 06, 07, 08 and 09. Presenter points to the label, ‘Pontoon Rocks’.]

We want to work out what is the area reference for Pontoon Rocks, Angels Beach.

[Presenter points to the number 58 in the eastings.]

Start by finding the eastings, 58.

[Presenter uses a pencil to gesture up and down the eastings grid line.]

Then we note the northing number, 08.

[Presenter uses a pencil to gesture left and right along the northings grid line.]

We are referring to the whole square with an area reference.

[Presenter points to the square where Pontoon Rocks is located. They write ‘AR 5808’ beside the location.]

The AR for Pontoon Rocks is AR 5808.

[Screen shows presenter standing in front of a decorative background.]

You may also need to use the symbols and area reference to locate and identify a land use on a topographic map.

[Screen returns to showing the map of East Ballina. Presenter points to the part of the map where grid reference 5706 is located.]

For example, here we have a grid reference, 5706. What is located here?

[Presenter uses a pencil to gesture along the eastings and northings grid lines. Once they reach the grid reference, they point to a yellow-coloured area that has red street lines running through it.]

Follow the eastings until you've reached the northing in the L and identified the land use. Use the key to identify the land use.

[Presenter moves the map to show the key. There is a list of symbols and their matching land uses. At the top of the list, the presenter points to a yellow rectangle with red lines running through it. The label beside this symbol reads, ‘Built-up area.’]

The key shows a built-up area.

[Screen shows presenter standing in front of a decorative background.]

When we are finding grid references, we are using six figures. This gives an exact location on a topographic map.

[Screen shows the grid paper from the start of the video. There is now a dot in the area reference for 2236. Two arrows are pointing to the dot. One arrow is coming from the top of the square and the other arrow is coming from the right-hand side of the square. Both of these arrows have the label ‘1/2’. The phrases ‘A = 2236’ and ‘GR =’ are written on the right-hand side of the page. Presenter points to ‘GR =’.]

A six-figure grid reference has six numbers in it.

[Presenter uses a pencil to point to each of the eastings numbers along the top of the square. They then glide the pencil down the arrow that is coming from the top of the square. Presenter points to the dot.]

The first two numbers are the grid reference eastings, and the third is how many tenths past the easting the point is.

[Presenter points to the word ‘Northings’. They then point to the dot. The presenter gestures to show that the dot is halfway between the two nearest grid lines.]

The next two numbers tell the northing below the point. And the last number tells us how many tenths past the northing this point is.

[Presenter visually follows the verbal instructions to find the grid reference number. Next to ‘GR =’, they write ‘225365’. The screen then shows the presenter standing in front of a decorative background.]

In topographic maps, understanding grid and area reference is key to other more complex skills. For example, distance between places and topographic cross-sections. But once you understand area and grid reference, you'll be well on your way to becoming a real geographer. All the best.

[Text on screen reads, ‘Acknowledgements. NSW Geography K-10 syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales 2015. See the NESA website for additional copyright information. NSW Department of Education Curriculum Secondary Learners. Southern Cross School of Distance Education.’

The screen shows an Indigenous artwork. The artwork features a landscape with native Australian animals. It is titled ‘Our Country’ by Garry Purchase. The text at the top of the screen reads, ‘Filming of these videos has taken place on Bundjalung land’. Video concludes by displaying the NSW Government logo.]

[End of transcript]