# 10 explain the difference between contour lines and relief and how they relate to elevation on a map. Ideas

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ur Lines and Intervals

A contour line is a line drawn on a topographic map to indicate ground elevation or depression. A contour interval is the vertical distance or difference in elevation between contour lines. Index contours are bold or thicker lines that appear at every fifth contour line.

If the numbers associated with specific contour lines are increasing, the elevation of the terrain is also increasing. If the numbers associated with the contour lines are decreasing, there is a decrease in elevation. As a contour approaches a stream, canyon, or drainage area, the contour lines turn upstream. They then cross the stream and turn back along the opposite bank of the stream forming a “v”. A rounded contour indicates a flatter or wider drainage or spur. Contour lines tend to enclose the smallest areas on ridge tops, which are often narrow or very limited in spatial extent. Sharp contour points indicate pointed ridges.

Example 1 – In the graphic below, what is the vertical distance between the contour lines?

Pick two contour lines that are next to each other and find the difference in associated numbers.
40 feet – 20 feet = 20 feet

The contour lines in this figure are equally spaced. The even spacing indicates the hill has a uniform slope. From the contour map, a profile can be drawn of the terrain.

Example 2 – Draw a profile showing the elevations of the contours.

Note: The intervals are increasing, therefore, the contours indicate a hill. The peak is normally considered to be located at half the interval distance.

Widely separated contour lines indicate a gentle slope. Contour lines that are very close together indicate a steep slope.

The figure above illustrates various topographic features. (b) Notice how a mountain saddle, a ridge, a stream, a steep area, and a flat area are shown with contour lines.

The figure above illustrates a depression and its representation using contour lines. Notice the tick marks pointing toward lower elevation.

Figure One

Figure Two

## {{quiztitle}}

Select the correct answer(s) from the questions below:

### SLOPE PERCENT FROM TOPOGRAPHIC MAP

The horizontal distance between points A and B can be measured with a scaled ruler and used to determine the slope percent.

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slope percent = rise/run × 100

Example 4 – What is the slope percent in Exercise 2 above?

slope percent = rise/run × 100.

For this computation, the rise, or vertical ground distance, and run, or horizontal ground distance, are needed.

Step 1.

Measure the horizontal map distance between points A and B to get the vertical ground distance.
The horizontal map distance measures 0.5 inches.

Step 2.

Use the appropriate conversion factor to convert the horizontal map distance to horizontal ground distance.
0.5 in × 24,000 in/in = 12,000 in

Step 3.

The desired unit is feet. Set up the cancellation table so all units will cancel, except the desired unit, feet.

Step 4.

Use the slope percent equation and solve. The run is 1000 feet and the rise in elevation is 120 feet.

slope percent = rise/run × 100

slope percent = (120ft / 1000ft) × 100 = 12%

Slope Worksheet – Use the information from the example above and complete the slope worksheet. Line 1 starts with the contour interval, not the projection point.

Slope Worksheet (to be completed)

 Line Input 0 PP Projection point ______ 1 CON INT Contour interval, ft ______ 2 SLC Map Scale ______ 3 CF Conversion factor, ft/in ______ 4 #INTVLS # of contour intervals ______ 5 RISE Rise in elevation, ft ______ 6 MD Map distance, in (between points) ______ 7 HZGD Horizontal ground distance, ft ______ Output SLP% SLOPE% ______

Slope Worksheet (completed)

 Line Input 0 PP Projection point A-B 1 CON INT Contour interval, ft 40 2 SLC Map Scale 1:24,000 3 CF Conversion factor, ft/in 2,000 4 #INTVLS # of contour intervals 3 5 RISE Rise in elevation, ft 120 6 MD Map distance, in (between points) 0.5 7 HZGD Horizontal ground distance, ft 1,000 Output SLP% SLOPE% 12

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### 5.5 Contour Lines and Intervals – NWCG

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• Sumary: A contour line is a line drawn on a topographic map to indicate ground elevation or depression. A contour interval is the vertical distance or difference in elevation between contour lines. Index contours are bold or thicker lines that…

• Matching Result: A contour line is a line drawn on a topographic map to indicate ground elevation or depression. A contour interval is the vertical distance or difference in …

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## Frequently Asked Questions About explain the difference between contour lines and relief and how they relate to elevation on a map.

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic explain the difference between contour lines and relief and how they relate to elevation on a map., then this section may help you solve it.

### What distinguishes elevation from contour lines?

Contour Lines: Contour lines are lines on a map that are produced from connecting points of equal elevation (elevation refers to height in feet, or meters above sea level). Topographic maps also have a vertical scale to allow the determination of a point in three dimensional space.

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### What distinguishes an elevation map from a relief map?

Relief maps are typically more visually expressive than traditional topographical maps because they can depict landforms more realistically than topographical maps, which typically rely on contour lines and spot heights to depict elevation

### How are elevations indicated by contour lines?

Contour lines are used to connect points with the same elevation; when they are close together (they never intersect), the terrain is steep and the elevation changes quickly over a short distance.

### What are relief and contours?

The variations in the elevation of the ground surface, as well as features of height above a plain or reference datum, are referred to as relief. On a relief map, relief is depicted by hachures or shading, or, more precisely, by contours, by spot elevations, or both.

### How do contour lines aid in our understanding of a region’s relief?

Contour lines, which depict all locations on a map that are the same height above sea level and provide information about the slope of the land by being closely spaced on steep slopes, are a crucial tool for illustrating the rise and fall of the land on a map.

### What is the name of a map with elevation lines?

A contour map is a map illustrated with contour lines, such as a topographic map, which reveals valleys and hills as well as the steepness or gentleness of slopes. A contour line (often just called a contour) connects points of equal elevation (height) above a given level, such as mean sea level.

### What do the contour lines and relief on a map mean?

By deducting the elevation difference between two points, you can estimate the relief or elevation change. Contour lines show the elevation above sea level at a given point on your map. Relief shows the difference in elevation between two points on a map.

### What is the distinction between elevation and relief?

We could use relief to describe the elevation, direction, and angle of slope of a mountain range, for example, or we could just say that relief is the opposite of flatness. Relief is the difference in height elevation between geographic features.

### How are height and relief depicted by contours?

When contour lines appear close together, this indicates the land slopes sharply and would be difficult to climb, and when they appear further apart, the land will be flatter. Contour lines are a map’s way of showing how high the land is. They join together points of equal height and never cross.

### What is the distinction between elevation and relief?

The lowest elevation from the highest elevation in a given area can be used to calculate relief, which is the difference in elevation between two points.

### What does elevation and relief mean?

Physical and topographic maps are most commonly used to measure elevation and relief. Elevation is simply how high or low a feature is, and relief is simply how quickly the elevation changes from one point to the next.

### On a map, how would you describe the relief?

Relief is typically defined as the difference in height between the high point and the low point on a landscape, in feet or in meters. It could also be defined more qualitatively: like “low relief plains” or “high relief rolling hills”.