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Contour Intervals | Contour Lines

Contour intervals, in the context of cartography and topographic maps, are the constant vertical distances or differences in elevation between adjacent contour lines. Contour lines are lines on a map that connect points of equal elevation or other continuous data, such as temperature or atmospheric pressure.

The contour interval is a crucial aspect of a topographic map, as it determines the level of detail in representing the terrain's elevation. It is selected based on factors such as the scale of the map, the complexity of the landscape, and the intended use of the map. Larger contour intervals are used for maps covering larger areas with relatively flat terrain, while smaller contour intervals are employed for maps depicting smaller areas with significant changes in elevation.

For example:

  • A topographic map with a contour interval of 10 meters means that each contour line represents a 10-meter change in elevation.

  • If the contour interval is 50 feet, each contour line on the map indicates a 50-foot change in elevation.

By reading contour lines and understanding their intervals, map users can interpret the shape of the land, identify features like hills, valleys, mountains, ridges, and slopes, and plan their activities accordingly. Contour intervals are essential for various applications, such as hiking, surveying, civil engineering, and environmental studies.

Contour Intervals | Contour Lines

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