Topography describes surface features and shapes on maps and is a field of planetary science of the Earth that includes additional astronomical objects such as asteroids, planets and moons. Topography also provides local details of an area in general, such as artificial features, culture, local history, vegetation and relief. In some instances maps with elevation contours have made these types of maps synonymous with relief. However, topography in the older sense is still used to study places and areas in major countries like Australia and Europe. Topography maps have three dimensional features of the recording of terrain or relief and identify specific landforms which are at times termed as geomorphometry. In today’s times these maps provide generations of data online in the form of eTopography Maps.
Topography maps include graphic layouts of the land in any particular area by including contour lines, relief shading, hypsometric tints and several other valuable techniques, which is why topographic maps now have multiple uses. Making use of these highly detailed topography maps for earth sciences, mining, recreational, earth based assignments, geographic disciplines, orienteering or hiking is a standard requirement. The use of conventional symbols and signs represent various features shown on topography maps. For instance roads are indicated by colours, which are explained separately or in the margin of the map. Many people commonly refer to these maps as topo or contour maps. They are also referred to as quadrangles or topo quads when strictly organized by a 7.5 minute grid. Land contours on topography maps are shown by means of contour lines which are curves of the same altitude connecting the contiguous points. In simple terms every 100m elevation marked line with a point means it is 100m above sea level. Not only contours are shown on these maps but also include individual buildings, forest cover, built up areas, relevant bodies of water and streams as well as other points of interest. The preparation of topography maps includes remote sensing techniques, aerial photography interpretation by means of photo gram metric’s and LIDAR. Previously traditional surveying instruments were used to prepare topography maps.
Many people do not give importance to topography maps these days unless they are involved in hiking or going out on a 4x4 adventure in one of Australia’s many national parks such as the Australian outback where maps of this nature can help them through an experience of a lifetime. Topography maps can now be downloaded from the internet and loaded onto your GPS or cell phone. There comes a time in your life, the very thing you take for granted, could be the solution to saving your life when on an adventure in the Australian outback or other national park.