What Is a Topographical Map?

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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.

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.