What is topography?The topography of the lower Columbia Container consists of canyons, hills, and valleys. Topography is a three-dimensional representation of the Earth"s surchallenge on a two- dimensional surface (paper) as watched from overhead looking straight dvery own. Topographic maps have contour lines that present topographic functions such as canyons, mountains, levels, and also plateaus. Topographic maps of the Tri-Cities area display such features as Red Mountain, Zintel Canyon, Iowa Flats, and the Rattlesnake Hills. Elevations and the shape of the terrain are displayed by the contour lines. Roads, communities, mines, benchmarks, water, types of vegetation, in addition to many kind of other functions additionally are contained on topographic maps utilizing map signs and colors. Topographic maps are regularly nicknamed "topo maps" for short. The U.S. Geological Survey has been making topographic maps considering that 1882 and has actually completed maps for the whole country. These maps are in feet and also miles, yet new maps are being developed using metric measurements.You are watching: When can designers usage a topographical map

How are the scales on a topographic map interpreted?Scales are stood for as ratios such as 1:24 000 to 1:500 000, wbelow the bigger the denominator the smaller sized the scale. For example, on a 1:24 000-scale map, each inch represents 24,000 inches or 2000 feet. On a 1:316 800-scale map, each inch represents 316,800 inches or 5 miles. A 1:24 000-range map provides even more detail through its bigger scale. Topographic maps mostly cover a space bounded by 7.5 minutes of latitude and also 7.5 minutes of longitude (around 160 square kilometers), and also are well-known as 7.5-minute quadrangle maps.

What execute contour lines on topography maps represent?If you look at a topographic map, the solid, curving lines are contour lines that suggest the elevation and shape of terrain. The elevation adjust in between any kind of two adjacent countour lines (the contour interval) is the exact same all over on a offered map. If the contour interval is 10 feet, the elevation changes 10 feet within these adjacent lines. Contour lines close together suggest steep mountainsides or cliffs. Gentle sloping hills or flat plains have contours farther apart from each various other. Experienced map readers deserve to look at the contours and visualize the three-dimensional form of the land also. "Cutting" a line via the contours enables the map reader to attract a profile of that section of the mountain or plateau. Hachure marks alengthy a contour display depressions, for example, of a crater or the mouth of a volcano.

Who uses topography maps?Hikers, campers, snow skiers, city and also county planners, the Fish and Wildlife Service, Foremainder Service, miners, loggers, highmeans planners and construction employees, travelers, surveyors, geologists, designers, and researchers are just a few of the world that use topographic maps. Knowing the shape of the terrain enables a hiker to setup a hike. Highway planners recognize the best routes for highmethods knowing the reduced and fill areas. Surveyors find benchmarks, and geologists locate their actual positions relative to the map and also deserve to recognize if changes to the land have actually arisen.

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"Science is built of facts as a house is of stones. But a collection of facts is no even more a scientific research than a heap of stones is a home." Henri Poincare

Keep in mind this truth sheet is intended to be supplied just as background indevelopment to support your initiative to encourage inquiry-based science, which parallels the means scientists uncover expertise and also fix troubles.


1. See exactly how many type of objects and also areas you have the right to uncover on a topographic map. Obtain topographic maps of your neighborhood location (check out sources below): Richland, Kennewick, Benton City, Columbia Point, Badger Mountain, and also Pasco 7.5-minute series quadrangle maps are a great start for the Columbia Container. Have students take transforms looking at the map and have them list all they have the right to discover on the map. This exercise will certainly introduce the students to the maps in general. Pass out the USGS Topographic Map Symbols leaflet and have students search again via even more understanding of what the symbols recurrent. Students will gain locating where their residence is on the 1:24 000-scale map. Challenge them to transport this understanding to the 1:100 000-range Richland Quadrangle map. Article the map in the classroom, and also usage flag pins labeled through their names.

2. Build a regional mountain. Here"s how: Enlarge Red, Candy, and Badger mountains from the 1:100 000-scale Richland also Quadrangle map. Rundown the 100-foot contour intervals, and also use this for the student"s pattern. Draw a radius line via the contours to be provided as a overview to complement up the layers of elevations appropriately as soon as they are all reduced out. Students will cut alengthy the lowest contour, say 200 feet. Place the pattern on cardboard, map and label the cardboard through the elevation and the position marker. Now cut the pattern alengthy the next contour line at 300 feet. Trace and also label as before. Continue for all contour lines. Cut out the cardboard elevations, and assemble, corresponding the place markers. Place clay balls or extra tiny pieces of cardboard to separate the layers around 1 centimeter acomponent. When completed, the students discover just how the two-dimensional map actually represents a three-dimensional terrain. Extensions: Have students paper mache their models. Produce a profile via a area of their hill. Students could additionally develop their very own topography maps utilizing the Topographic Map Symbols, overview. These maps have the right to be shared through other students to see if they can attract and visualize the student"s terrain. Create a topographic map of the school grounds.

Questions a scientist could ask. How has the terrain adjusted from past maps? Where am I standing family member to this map? What caused these topographic features? What are the contour intervals? What scale map meets my needs? What historic or historical attributes are noted on this map?


Full Option Science System (FOSS), Lawrence Hall of Science, College of California, Berkeley, The golden state. Landforms; Build A Mountain & Bird"s Eye View (Grades 5-6).See more: How Do You Isolate The Variable Or Expression In Equation, Isolate The Variable (Transposition)How to Teach through Topographic Maps, 1998. Dana Van Burgh, Elizabeth Lyons and Marcy Boyington, National Science Teachers Association, Arlington, Virginia.The Practical Geologist, 1992. Dougal Dixon, Simon and also Schuster, London. U.S. Geological Survey, Map Scales, Factsheet,, October 1993. (USGS map supplier: Spokane Earth Science Information Center (ESIC); 509-368-3130 or speak to 1-888-ASK-USGS.)

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Initial advance and also printing was funded by the Partnership for Arid Land Stewardship (PALS). Project Manager: Karen Wieda. Written by: Rebecca Moak, Christ the King School. Series Editor: Georganne O"Connor; Design: WinSome Design.