CERENITY WILSON - Reading Topographic Maps.docx - Reading Topographic Maps Contour lines are the greatest distinguishing feature of a topographic map

CERENITY WILSON - Reading Topographic Maps.docx - Reading...

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Reading Topographic Maps Contour lines are the greatest distinguishing feature of a topographic map . Contour lines are lines drawn on a map connecting points of equal elevation, meaning if you physically followed a contour line, elevation would remain constant. Contour lines show elevation and the shape of the terrain. They're useful because they illustrate the shape of the land surface -- its topography-- on the map. Here's a cool way to understand how to interpret contour lines: Take an object like a ball or a pile of laundry , and shine a red laser pointer along the object's side. The line you see will look like a contour line on a topographic map. In order to keep things simple, topographic maps show lines for certain elevations only. These lines are evenly spaced apart. We call this spacing the contour interval. For example, if your map uses a 10-foot contour interval, you will see contour lines for every 10 feet (3 meters) of elevation -- lines at 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, and so on. Different maps use different intervals, depending on the topography. If,

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