Topographic Map – Definition, Structure, Examples, Symbols

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Topographic Map – Definition, Structure, Examples

Topographic Map

A topographic map refers to a detailed, graphical, and accurate representation of features that appear on the Earth’s surface.

Topographic maps are an essential part of the field of geology due to the comprehensive analysis of a particular surface. Students can explore more about the topographic map here.

Definition and Meaning of Topographic Map
A topographic map is a map that represents the locations of geographical features. Furthermore, these geographical features can be mountains, valleys, plain surfaces, water bodies, and many more.

Topographic maps refer to maps at large and medium scales that incorporate a massive variety of information. All the components of topographic maps carry equal importance.

Topographic Map

Topographic maps refer to a graphical representation of the three-dimensional configuration of the surface of the Earth. Moreover, such maps show the size, shape, and distribution of landscape features.

Also, such maps present the vertical and horizontal positions of those features whose representations take place. Most noteworthy makes use of contour lines so as to show different elevations on a map.

Structure of Topographic Map
Topographic maps have a detailed and compendious structure. The various aspects of a topographic map can be divided into three major groups:

Relief: The depiction of the relief aspect is with brown contour lines that represent the mountains, hills, valleys, plains, etc. The elevations are available in meters (or feet) above the mean sea level.

Furthermore, there are also spot elevations are shown in the black colour. Moreover, in these spot elevations, the marking of the lake level, the summit of a hill, or the road intersections takes place for the purpose of elevation.

Water: The depiction of the water aspects takes place in the blue colour. Moreover, the water aspects represent the oceans, rivers, streams, lakes, swamps, etc.

Cultural: The depiction of these aspects takes place in the black colour. Furthermore, they are representative of all man-made features.

Above all, these man-made features include roads, railroads, land boundaries, buildings, airports, urban development, etc.

Contour line: A contour line refers to a type of isoline. In such a case, it is a line of equal elevation. Moreover, if one walks along a contour line, then one would not go uphill or downhill.

Mathematically speaking, a contour line refers to a curve in two dimensions on which the value of a function f(x,y) happens to be a constant.

Examples of Topographic Map
Below are some examples of topographic maps from different nations or countries:

Germany – Each federal state of Germany is in charge of producing official topographic maps. Moreover, the production and publishing of the maps which are between 1:5000 and 1:100000 take place by the land surveying offices of each federal state.

Also, the production and publishing of the maps between 1:200000 and 1:1000000 take place by a federal house(BKG) in Frankfurt am Main.

Israel – The Survey of Israel has the responsibility for carrying out the topographic and civilian mapping of Israel. Moreover, the standard map scales in Israel are 1:50000 and 1:100000. Also, one can access the 1:50000 map online. Above all, Israel is a country that contains many high elevation places.

Nepal – In Nepal, the surveying and publishing of a definitive series of large-scale topographic maps took place from 1992 to 2000 through a joint project by the Government of Nepal Survey Department along with Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Topographic maps which are at 1:25000 scale and covering the 7.5 minutes latitude and longitude map the regions of Terai and Middle Mountain regions which have dense populations.


Which of the following is not an aspect of the topographic map structure?
A. Contour line
B. Relief
C. Natural disaster
D. Cultural
The correct option is C. natural disaster
This is because there is usually no representation of natural disasters in the topographic map.