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ZingPath: Earth's Topography and Mapping

Using Topographic Maps

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Earth's Topography and Mapping

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Lesson Focus

Using Topographic Maps

Earth & Space Science

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You will learn to use topographic maps to visualize natural land features and man-made features.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Define topographic maps.
  • Interpret topographic maps to identify land and erosional features.

Everything You'll Have Covered

1. For what purposes do we use maps?

~ We commonly use maps to illustrate the layout and features of a certain area of land.

2. What is a topographic map?

~ A topographic map is a type of map that shows both natural land features (like mountains and hills) and man-made features (like roads and buildings) from the top view, detailing their heights.

3. What is the baseline height of all topographic maps?

~ The baseline height of all topographic maps is sea level, which is labeled as zero meters.

4. How are the varying heights of a natural land feature represented on a topographic map?

~ The varying heights of a natural land feature are represented on a topographic map with contour lines, which serve to connect and detail points of equal heights.

5. What does the frequency of contour lines indicate about the change in height of a natural land feature?

~ The frequency of contour lines is an indication of how steeply inclined, or how level, a natural land feature is. In other words, the closer together the contour lines, the steeper the land feature is.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts There are no specific pre-requisite requirements necessary.
Course Earth & Space Science
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary contour interval, contour lines, erosion features