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What is a topographical map?

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Quick Answer

A topographic map is a highly detailed illustration that shows all the relief features of the Earth's surface in three dimensions. In topographic maps, contour lines are employed to show the changes in elevation on the surface of the Earth.

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What is a topographical map?
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Topographic maps, also known as topo maps, are usually drawn on a large scale and are produced on very large sheets of paper. It is a very detailed and accurate representation of the natural and cultural features on the ground. A topo map identifies natural and cultural features, such as roads, rivers, swamps, vegetation and power transmission, among other features.

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    What is a flat map?

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    A flat map is a projection of Earth's surface onto a two-dimensional plane, according to NationalAtlas.gov. Because Earth's surface curves, any projection onto a flat map creates distortions. A globe is the most accurate depiction of Earth, but impractical for most uses, whereas a flat rendering is useful but not as accurate. A flat map can be printed on paper or digitally rendered on a computer screen.

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    What is a flat map called?

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    A flat map is called a map projection. These maps are designed to take the spherical nature of the earth and portray it flat so it can be seen and analyzed for different purposes.

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    What is a qualitative map?

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    A qualitative map expresses the absence or presence of various features of land, such as vegetation. The opposite of a qualitative map is a quantitative map, which expresses information with numbers, such as elevation in feet.

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