What Information Is Included in Section Maps?


Quick Answer

Section maps mainly display the two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional landscape using contour lines. A section map indicates any elevations in the landscape and the steepness of the gradient. Measuring horizontal distances in addition to vertical elevations is also possible using a section map.

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Full Answer

Section maps are also known as topographic profiles, as they help identify the topography of the area. They provide the view of a landscape as seen from above. The number specified on the contour line indicates the height of the elevation in meters. If there are no contour lines drawn, it indicates a flat surface. The spacing between the contour lines indicates the gradient of the elevation.

If the contour lines are far apart, it indicates that the gradient is less steep. If the contour lines are very close to each other, it is an indication of a very steep gradient. The contour lines also identify the valleys. The contour line trends up valleys forming a V or a U shape when crossing a stream. Also, the section maps provide the stream gradient by measuring the section of a stream and by dividing the distance by the vertical distance between two points.

A section map shows areas of equal elevation when the contour lines do not split, cross each other or divide but are created by connecting points of equal elevation.

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