Square Kilometer|Definition & Meaning


A square kilometer is the area of a square-shaped area whose length and height are one kilometer. It is a measurement unit mainly used for measuring large areas. It is represented as km2. Calculating the area in square kilometers involves two lengths. Each of the lengths for square kilometers is in kilometers. When both lengths in kilometers are multiplied, it gives the area in square kilometers i.e., km2.

one squarekilometer scaled

Figure 1: The image represents a 1 square kilometer area.

Systems of Measurement

A square kilometer is a measurement unit for the area occupied by objects, derived from the base unit of length (meter) in the International System of Units, or SI Units. SI units measuring system is the system of measurements that is most widely used all over the world.

In the system of units, there are two types of units, i.e., base units and derived units.

Base Units

Base Units are the most basic and fundamental units in the measurement system used worldwide. This system is based on natural phenomena, or we can say that it is a standard that is a base for the other units that are the derived units.

It’s right to say that a base unit is the most elementary unit in the measurement system.

The three main base units are mass, length, and time but the international system of units declares 7 units as the base units, or you can also say 7 SI units. These are

Meter (m) = length

Kilogram (kg) = weight 

Second (s) = time

Ampere (A) = Electric current

Kelvin (K) = temperature

Mole (mole) = the amount of substance

Candela (cd) = Luminous intensity.

Derived Units

The Derived Units are the units derived from the mathematical operations i.e., multiplication and division of the base units. This mathematical dedication does not include any numerical calculation.

Or the units whose simplification results in one of the seven base units is known as a derived unit. The derived units can be dimensionless, or they can be a combination of one or more base units. They can be scaled by an exponent of 10.

Kilometer Square: A Derived Unit

In our case, a kilometer square is a derived unit. Its base unit is square meters. System international has a quality that makes the conversations from base units to smaller or larger measurement units.

So the measurement unit meters squares are converted into square kilometers. System international uses some prefixes that make the unit larger or smaller. These prefixes indicate a specific power of 10 to which the base unit is increased or decreased.

In the case of a square kilometer area, the base unit meter has been modified by using the prefixes kilo. Kilo indicates the number 103, which is equal to 1000.

This scaled unit of area is usually used for telling the area of land in a farm or in a village, or in a city.

The symbol of a square kilometer, i.e., km2, is the multiple of the square meters. This includes the base unit for the area, meter, and the prefix kilo. Mathematically, one square kilometer equals:

1 km2 = 1,000,000 square meters or m2

1 km2 = 100 hectares or ha

1 km2 = 247.1 acres

1 km2 = 0.3861 square miles

They (square kilometers) are measured by multiplying their length and width like the area of this square is 1 km × 1 km = 1 km2.

conversion of one square kilometer scaled

Figure 2: Conversion of square kilometers into different units.

Difference Between Square Kilometers and Kilometers

The difference between a square kilometer and a kilometer is not really a difference except that km represents just a simple length while km2 represents an area. 1 square kilometer(km2) shows that the area has1 km length and 1 km width.

Now if we say which one is bigger, Acre or Square Kilometer? Square Kilometer is bigger as we know one Square Kilometer is equal to 247.10548 Acre.

What Is a Square Kilometer and a Square Mile? 

Square kilometers and square miles, both of these are measurement units, used frequently for measuring lands and plots. In some states, 1 Square Kilometer is equal to 0.3861 Square Miles.

The relationship between a Square Mile and a Square Kilometer is not difficult to understand. 1 square mile is equal to 2.58999 square kilometers and 1 square kilometer is equivalent to 0.3861 square miles.

Use of Square Kilometers in Environmental Studies

The square kilometer is also commonly used in environmental studies, as it allows scientists and researchers to accurately measure the size of ecosystems and habitats.

 For example, a square kilometer of rainforest might be used to measure the size of a particular species’ habitat or to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide that is absorbed by a particular area of forest.

Use of Square Kilometers in Science and Engineering

In addition to its use in science and engineering, the square kilometer is also commonly used in everyday life. For example, it is often used to measure the size of a city or town or to calculate the amount of land that is needed for a particular purpose, such as farming or housing.

One interesting use of the square kilometer is in the calculation of population density. Population density is a measure of how many people live in a particular area, and it is often calculated by dividing the total population of an area by the size of the area in square kilometers.

 For example, if a city has a population of 1 million people and an area of 100 square kilometers, the population density would be 10,000 people per square kilometer.

Overall, the square kilometer is a useful unit of measurement that is widely used in a variety of fields, including science, engineering, real estate, and everyday life. Its versatility and convenience make it an essential tool for accurately measuring and calculating the size of land and other objects.

Real-life Example of Square Kilometers

Let’s say you want to measure the area of a small city. The city is square-shaped, and each side of the square is 10 kilometers long. Find the area of the city in square Kilometers.

ten kilometers each side city scaled

Figure 3: A square-shaped city.


To find the area of the city in square kilometers, we would multiply the length of one side of the square by itself.

In this case, the area of the city would be:

10 kilometers * 10 kilometers = 100 square kilometers.

So if you wanted to know how much land the small city occupies, you would say it is 100 square kilometers.

All mathematical images are generated by using GeoGebra.

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