Newcomers Guide on How to Study a Topographic Map


Map reading or to be extra precise Reading a Topographic Map has turn out to be a factor of the previous with new technologies on smartphones and other GPS devices.  Now you form in an address anyplace in the planet, and your smartphone will take a individual to their location.  In the final 20 years, technologies has produced life significantly less complicated for men and women to travel. This contains air travel, ships, vehicles, and trucks. 

Trucking is nonetheless large enterprise in the planet, and quite a few men and women reside in remote locations. Years ago, truckers and vacationers study maps and got to their destinations that way.  They normally arrived, but the maps didn’t inform men and women when a bridge was closed or the roads have been below building like Google maps do.

Folks back then knew how to feel for themselves, and now new technologies tells men and women what to feel, alternatively of how to feel for themselves.  This is why mastering how to study a topographic map is crucial. This form of map tells hikers about what type of terrain they are going to run into and also the major roads in your state if you buy a one of a kind terrain book (see extra right here about the very best books for hiking).

Terrain Map

terrain mapIf you are a survivalist, a terrain map can take you all more than the terrain and remote locations.  You also can study the legend and obtain out exactly where ponds, lakes, and streams are. This is why hikers have to have to bring a terrain map with them.

It must be a topographic map, which has various contour lines on them. The lines are various shapes and thickness for the reason that of getting contour lines. These lines inform hikers when they are hiking up hills, downhill, or on flat land.

If a individual desires to be a qualified hiker, they have to find out how to study contour lines.  This is an vital process to decide if you are going to be an knowledgeable hiker or backpacker. An instance of this is ahead of you strategy a hike, trace the stroll you want to attempt, and see how the terrain appears.  Appear to see if some hills or cliffs could be prospective threats.

This terrain may possibly be as well tricky to stroll on and climb for hikers. Verify the topographic map ahead of you leave for your hike for the reason that then you can normally opt for a various location that is safer and less complicated.

Contour Lines

compass and mapContour lines are renowned for the reason that men and women can obtain you even though you are on your hike.  Attempt and match the landforms to the map and the contour lines that correspond to the landforms.  This aids a individual fully grasp exactly where they are and aids them from obtaining lost. If you can effectively study a topographic map, you can ax the compass and GPS.  It is nonetheless critical for novices to know how to use a GPS and a compass for the reason that they assistance you study and fully grasp the contour lines of the map.

If you study the topographic map, bear in mind these issues about the contour lines that are on the map.  The best of the contour line has the identical elevation, a single side of a contour line indicates hiking uphill, even though the other indicates are hiking downhill.  Contour lines close to kind a circle, and the location inside the circle is above the contour line, a superior percentage of the time. Contour lines are also made closer with each other when a single is approaching steep locations, and farther apart when the hiker is approaching flat land.

Practice, Practice

The subsequent time you are going for a hike, bear in mind to purchase a topographic map for the location you opt for to hike in.  If you can not obtain the precise topographic map, appear for the Delorme Atlas and Gazetteer for the certain state you reside in, if you are living in the U.S., These books have topographic maps for each and every section of the nation you reside in. They are also utilised for hiking and traveling down rural roads to assistance you navigate.

Uncover the location that you strategy to hike in with your map or gazetteer, and appear for the trail you want to hike on.  Right after you start hiking, pull the map out each and every handful of minutes and see if you can correlate the various landmasses that match with the contour photos.  This sounds pretty tricky, but it is extra accessible when you hike in locations that have a lot of hills or close to fields with a lot of streams or rivers.

Reading a Topographic Map is a Talent

topographic mapAttempt to get into the habit of hunting at your map each and every time you notice the landmass altering.  This will turn out to be less complicated for you to do as you observe the modifications, and then it is less complicated to remain on best of exactly where you are with place when you are hiking.  It does not matter exactly where you are if you study the guidelines, you must be capable to retain on the point of exactly where you are.

If you can not figure out a compass, but can fully grasp a topographic map, then you will not get lost and normally know exactly where you are by hunting at the terrain and matching this up to your map.  Keep in mind, practice tends to make fantastic, so it is crucial to retain following your maps.

Being aware of exactly where you are at all occasions is the most critical ability any hiker can achieve. This also aids hikers and backpackers achieve extra self-confidence in their skills to succeed and survive (verify the guides on best survival kits or very best survival tools) in the planet nowadays.

Map Legend

Generally bear in mind to appear closely at the map legend on topographic maps.  These have quite a few clues and information for navigation. Just about every line, symbol, and colour imply some thing and the denser the lines the thicker the vegetation and the locations without having colour indicates they are open locations.  It is not as well difficult to figure it out. Blue normally indicates water or lakes, rivers, and streams.

map legend


Obtaining Topographic Maps

You can go on-line and appear for some in your location. You can also go to all the regional state and national parks and forests for topographic maps.  Several are in boxes and are free of charge for the public to use. You have to stick to the guidelines of the park in case there are no dogs permitted or smoking permitted.  For these who enjoy hiking with dogs, make positive you study our weblog. All substantial parks have regulations to stick to. Topographic maps have significantly extra info for hikers and backpackers than a normal map for the reason that they contain each the terrain and the roads in the location.  This is why employing a topographic map and mastering how to study a single is important for the reason that you will normally know exactly where you are without having the use of a compass or handheld GPS.


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