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How to Read Contour Lines?

Contour lines close together represent a steep increase or decrease in elevation, while lines further apart represent a gentle slope. Spaces with no lines indicate flat ground. The lines work by connecting points on your map that represent the same elevation.

How to Read Contour Lines?

Reading contour lines is an important skill for any outdoor enthusiast or topographer. Contour lines are used to depict changes in elevation or slope on a map, and understanding how to read them is essential for understanding the terrain. By recognizing the basic shapes of contour lines, you can easily discern the terrain type, steepness and other terrain features.

The first step to reading contour lines is to familiarize yourself with the different shapes and patterns that they can form. Contour lines are always drawn in an imaginary line around a hill, mountain, or other raised feature. Every contour line has an elevation, usually in feet or meters, and the closer together the lines are, the steeper the terrain. Generally, contour lines are drawn at regular intervals, such as every 20 feet or every 10 meters.

The simplest contour line is a single, straight line that travels all the way around a feature with no breaks or bends. This is known as a “closed contour” and it indicates that the terrain is flat. If the line is curved, it indicates that the terrain is sloped, with the steepness increasing as the curve gets tighter. When two or more contour lines intersect, the shape formed is known as

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