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Science >> Earth Science for Kids

Earth Science for Kids

Topography

What is topography?

Topography describes the physical features of an area of land. These features typically include natural formations such as mountains, rivers, lakes, and valleys. Manmade features such as roads, dams, and cities may also be included. Topography often records the various elevations of an area using a topographical map.

Topographical Features

Topography studies the elevation and location of landforms. Topographical Map

A topographical map is one that shows the physical features of the land. Besides just showing landforms such as mountains and rivers, the map also shows the elevation changes of the land. Elevation is shown using contour lines.

When a contour line is drawn on a map it represents a given elevation. Every point on the map touching the line should be the same elevation. On some maps, numbers on the lines will let you know what the elevation is for that line.

Contour lines next to each other will represent different elevations. The closer the contour lines are to each other, the steeper the slope of the land.

Contour map example
The lower map shows the contour lines for the above hills

Ways Topography is Studied

There are a number of ways that information is gathered to make topographical maps. They can be divided into two primary methods: direct survey and indirect survey.

Direct survey - A direct survey is when a person on the ground uses surveying equipment, such as levels and clinometers, to directly measure the location and elevation of the land. You have probably seen a surveyor along the road sometime making measurements by looking through a leveling instrument sitting on a tall tripod.

Indirect survey - Remote areas may be mapped using indirect methods. These methods include satellite pictures, images taken from planes, radar, and sonar (underwater).

Survey
Worker performing a survey

What is topography used for?

Topography has a number of uses including:

Earth Science Subjects

Geology
Composition of the Earth
Rocks
Minerals
Plate Tectonics
Erosion
Fossils
Glaciers
Soil Science
Mountains
Topography
Volcanoes
Earthquakes
The Water Cycle
Geology Glossary and Terms

Nutrient Cycles
Food Chain and Web
Carbon Cycle
Oxygen Cycle
Water Cycle
Nitrogen Cycle
Atmosphere and Weather
Atmosphere
Climate
Weather
Wind
Clouds
Dangerous Weather
Hurricanes
Tornadoes
Weather Forecasting
Seasons
Weather Glossary and Terms

World Biomes
Biomes and Ecosystems
Desert
Grasslands
Savanna
Tundra
Tropical Rainforest
Temperate Forest
Taiga Forest
Marine
Freshwater
Coral Reef
Environmental Issues
Land Pollution
Air Pollution
Water Pollution
Ozone Layer
Recycling
Global Warming

Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable Energy
Biomass Energy
Geothermal Energy
Hydropower
Solar Power
Wave and Tidal Energy
Wind Power

Other
Ocean Waves and Currents
Ocean Tides
Tsunamis
Ice Age
Forest Fires
Phases of the Moon


Science >> Earth Science for Kids






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