Geography Skills: Contours

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An introduction to reading contour maps.

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Geography Skills: Contours

  1. 1. Created by tbonnar.
  2. 2.  In real life we see in 3D, but maps are only two dimensional. It is therefore difficult for maps to show three dimensions.
  3. 3.  It is possible, but very difficult, to create a form of 3D map such as those shown here.
  4. 4.  There are two ways maps try to show 3D: 1. Profile (Side View)
  5. 5.  There are two ways maps try to show 3D: 2. Contour Map (Top View)
  6. 6.  A Contour Map Takes a3D representation andturns it into a 2D map.
  7. 7.  Contour lines are a map’s way of showing you how high the land is. They join together places of the same height and form patterns that help us to imagine what the land actually looks like.
  8. 8.  Contour lines are drawn in intervals that never change and never cross each other.
  9. 9.  Contour maps are used in atlases, because they can provide more detailed information about a location. For example, in the two boxes below we can predict the shape of the land based on the contour line.
  10. 10.  We can also learn about the steepness of the slope(in math class this would be called the gradient). In the box below we can see that the distance between the lines indicates the slope. steep cliff – lines gentle/ are touching not steep
  11. 11.  The closer together the contour lines are, the steeper the land. Contour lines that are wide apart show us that the land is flatter.
  12. 12.  Stop here to do Contour Pages 1 & 2.
  13. 13.  Contour lines are created by first finding spot heights (heights at particular places) for a whole region and then connecting the locations that have identical spot heights.
  14. 14.  Below, you can see two examples of “connecting the dots” in order to create contour lines.
  15. 15.  Note that the contour lines have different contour intervals. Maps usually specify the contour interval. Usually the contour interval is a round number. Ex. 10 metres or 100 metres Try connecting the dots in the example below.
  16. 16.  Note that the contour lines have different contour intervals. Maps usually specify the contour interval. Usually the contour interval is a round number. Ex. 10 metres or 100 metres Try connecting the dots in the example below.

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