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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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    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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    Where is the Caribbean located on a map?

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    What is a legend on a map?

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    What is an elevation map?

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    An elevation map reflects the elevation of the region being depicted; this is usually done using lines, shading and color patterns. 3D models of elevation maps provide higher resolution and more accurate data, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Another term for an elevation map is a topographic map.

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