# How To Read A Topographic Map

Maps are different in content, scale, and the nature of the displayed surface. Topographic maps are one of the types of maps. They are widely used in almost all areas of human activity: socio-economic zoning, agriculture, but they are especially important for the military.

## Instructions

### Step 1

Look carefully at the topographic map, it is a sheet of paper with an image of the earth's surface printed on it. All objects of the mapped area of ​​the terrain are depicted with conventional symbols - these are symbolic, areal or line images of terrain objects. Symbols carry the basic information of the map. With the help of them, you can get complete information about the depicted area: the names of settlements, rivers, mountains, forests.

### Step 2

In addition to the names, various forms of relief are also depicted on the map: mountains and their heights, ravines and their character, valleys, hollows, etc. Mountains are represented on the map by isolines, i.e. lines connecting points with equal heights. The topographic map can be used to determine the height of the mountains, to determine the type of slopes.

### Step 3

In addition to the relief, the map also depicts hydrographic objects (rivers, lakes, seas, reservoirs, canals, streams, springs and wells). A topographic map provides a fairly voluminous information about these objects. For example, you can determine the length of a river, its direction, its tributaries and the shape of its banks.

### Step 4

After carefully examining the map, you will notice that a grid of squares is applied to the very image of the area in the form of an intersection of thin lines. This is the inner frame of the card sheet. The southern and northern sides of this frame are the segments of parallels, the western and eastern are the segments of the meridians, the value of which is determined by the general system of drawing topographic maps. The values ​​of the longitude of the meridians and the latitude of the parallels that limit the map sheet are signed near the corners of the frame: longitude on the continuation of the meridians, latitude on the continuation of the parallels.

### Step 5

If you pay attention, then any topographic map has a frame and outside the frame there is also information about the area. For example, the scale of the map shows how many times the image of the area is reduced when displayed on the map. In our country, a standard series of map scales has been adopted: 1: 1 000 000, 1: 500 000, 1: 200 000, 1: 100 000, 1:50 000, 1:25 000, 1:10 000. Knowing the scale, you can determine the distance on the ground and the length of the lines. For this, the base of the scale is divided by 100. So at a scale of 1: 10000 in 1 cm of the map - 100 meters on the ground.

### Step 6

In addition to all these elements, all topographic maps contain some more elements that carry information, but this information is important and understandable only for a narrow circle of specialists (cartographers, topographers, surveyors).

This property of topographic maps as a documentary allows them to be used as a source of detailed data on the mapped area and as a reliable means for orientation, to study a wide variety of territories using them.