Parent page: Using Topographic Maps
There are various types of maps utilized for diverse purposes. For instance, while walking from say point A to Z, you can easily use a normal map. However, if you need to understand the terrain of the road, then you require having topographic maps. This is an essential tool that enables you to observe a three-dimensional terrain on a plain surface. Topographic maps utilize contours to provide details about the land surface through their shaping and spacing, as explained below.
They Indicate Steepness of a Landscape
The points with the same elevation are connected with these lines. When these lines are close together, it indicates that the gradient is shifting quickly within a very short distance, denoting the terrain is steep. When the contours look wide apart, it means that the elevation change is slow, showing a gentle incline.
Contour Lines Show the Shape of the Terrain
If there are concentric circles that look rough, it is likely to be showing a peak. The area between these peaks is called passes. If they form a “V,” it indicates in stream valleys or drainage. The best way to utilize topographic maps and match the terrain with the contour lines is by looking at maps of an acquainted area.
The Lines Indicate Depressions Too
Not every time does a circle shows a peak. Sometimes, it specifies that there is a depression. You can differentiate a peak from depression with the ticks marked in the circle. These marks denote that it is a depression. You can also notice a decrease in elevation when you go near that depression.
The Contour Interval
The change of elevation from a single line to the next one are similar within the same map. Most of the topographic maps have an interval of either 50 or 80 feet. A 40-foot distance denotes that there is a 40-feet vertical distance between two lines. The elevations are comparative to sea level taken at zero elevation.