Topographic map

# Topographic map

Discussion

Encyclopedia
A topographic map is a type of map
Map
A map is a visual representation of an area—a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions, and themes....

characterized by large-scale
Scale (map)
The scale of a map is defined as the ratio of a distance on the map to the corresponding distance on the ground.If the region of the map is small enough for the curvature of the Earth to be neglected, then the scale may be taken as a constant ratio over the whole map....

detail and quantitative representation of relief
Terrain
Terrain, or land relief, is the vertical and horizontal dimension of land surface. When relief is described underwater, the term bathymetry is used...

, usually using contour line
Contour line
A contour line of a function of two variables is a curve along which the function has a constant value. In cartography, a contour line joins points of equal elevation above a given level, such as mean sea level...

s in modern mapping, but historically using a variety of methods
Cartographic relief depiction
Terrain or relief is an essential aspect of physical geography, and as such its portrayal presents a central problem in cartography, and more recently GIS and 3D Visualization....

. Traditional definitions require a topographic map to show both natural and man-made features. A topographic map is typically published as a map series
Map series
A map series is a group of topographic or thematic maps or charts usually having the same scale and cartographic specifications, and with each sheet appropriately identified by its publisher as belonging to the same series....

, made up of two or more map sheets that combine to form the whole map. A contour line is a combination of two line segments that connect but do not intersect; these represent elevation on a topographic map.

The Canadian Centre for Topographic Information provides this definition of a topographic map:
Other authors define topographic maps by contrasting them with another type of map; they are distinguished from smaller-scale "chorographic maps" that cover large regions, "planimetric maps" that do not show elevations, and "thematic map
Thematic map
A thematic map is a type of map or chart especially designed to show a particular theme connected with a specific geographic area. These maps "can portray physical, social, political, cultural, economic, sociological, agricultural, or any other aspects of a city, state, region,nation , or...

s" that focus on specific topics.

However, in the vernacular and day to day world, the representation of relief (contours) is popularly held to define the genre, such that even small-scale maps showing relief are commonly (and erroneously, in the technical sense) called "topographic".

The study or discipline of topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

, while interested in relief, is actually a much broader field of study which takes into account all natural and man made features of terrain.

## History

Topographic maps are based on topographical surveys. Performed at large scales, these surveys are called topographical in the old sense of topography, showing a variety of elevations and landforms. This is in contrast to older cadastral surveys, which primarily show property and governmental boundaries. The first multi-sheet topographic map series of an entire country, the Carte géométrique de la France, was completed in 1789. The Great Trigonometric Survey
Great Trigonometric Survey
The Great Trigonometric Survey was a project of the Survey of India throughout most of the 19th century. It was piloted in its initial stages by William Lambton, and later by George Everest. Among the many accomplishments of the Survey were the demarcation of the British territories in India and...

of India, started by the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

in 1802, then taken over by the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

after 1857 was notable as a successful effort on a larger scale and for accurately determining heights of Himalayan peaks from viewpoints over one hundred miles distant.
Topographic surveys were prepared by the military to assist in planning for battle and for defensive emplacements (thus the name and history of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

's Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey , an executive agency and non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom, is the national mapping agency for Great Britain, producing maps of Great Britain , and one of the world's largest producers of maps.The name reflects its creation together with...

). As such, elevation information was of vital importance.

As they evolved, topographic map series became a national resource in modern nations in planning infrastructure and resource exploitation. In the United States, the national map-making function which had been shared by both the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior
United States Department of the Interior
The United States Department of the Interior is the United States federal executive department of the U.S. government responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources, and the administration of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native...

migrated to the newly created United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

in 1879, where it has remained since.
1913 saw the beginning of the International Map of the World
International Map of the World
The International Map of the World was a project begun in 1913 to create a complete map of the world according to internationally agreed standards...

initiative endeavoring to map all of Earth's significant land areas at 1:1 million scale on about one thousand sheets covering four degrees latitude by six or more degrees longitude. Excluding boundaries, each sheet was 44 cm high and (depending on latitude) up to 66 cm wide. Although the project eventually foundered, it left an indexing system that remains in use.

By the 1980s, centralized printing of standardized topographic maps began to be eroded by databases of coordinates that could be used on computers by moderately skilled end users to view or print maps with arbitrary contents, coverage and scale. For example the Federal government of the United States
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

' TIGER
Tiger
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to and weighing up to . Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts...

initiative compiled interlinked databases of federal, state and local political border
Border
Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states and other subnational entities. Some borders—such as a state's internal administrative borders, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are open and...

s and census enumeration areas
Census tract
A census tract, census area, or census district is a geographic region defined for the purpose of taking a census. Usually these coincide with the limits of cities, towns or other administrative areas and several tracts commonly exist within a county...

, and of roadways, railroads, and water features with support for locating street addresses within street segments. TIGER was developed in the 1980s and used in the 1990 and subsequent decennial censuses
United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...

. Digital elevation model
Digital elevation model
A digital elevation model is a digital model or 3-D representation of a terrain's surface — commonly for a planet , moon, or asteroid — created from terrain elevation data....

s (DEM) were also compiled, initially from topographic maps and stereographic interpretation of aerial photographs and then from satellite photography and radar data
Remote sensing
Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon, without making physical contact with the object. In modern usage, the term generally refers to the use of aerial sensor technologies to detect and classify objects on Earth by means of propagated signals Remote sensing...

. Since all these were government projects funded with taxes and not classified for national security reasons, the datasets were in the public domain
Public domain
Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...

and freely usable without fees or licensing.

TIGER and DEM datasets greatly facilitated Geographic information system
Geographic Information System
A geographic information system, geographical information science, or geospatial information studies is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographically referenced data...

s and made the Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

much useful by providing context around locations given by the technology as coordinates. Initial applications were mostly professionalized forms such as innovative surveying instruments and agency-level GIS systems tended by experts. By the mid-1990s, increasingly user-friendly
Usability
Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object. The object of use can be a software application, website, book, tool, machine, process, or anything a human interacts with. A usability study may be conducted as a primary job function by a usability analyst or as a secondary job...

resources such as online mapping
Web mapping
Web mapping is the process of designing, implementing, generating and delivering maps on the World Wide Web and its product. While web mapping primarily deals with technological issues, web cartography additionally studies theoretic aspects: the use of web maps, the evaluation and optimization of...

in two and three dimensions, integration of GPS with mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

An automotive navigation system is a satellite navigation system designed for use in automobiles. It typically uses a GPS navigation device to acquire position data to locate the user on a road in the unit's map database. Using the road database, the unit can give directions to other locations...

s appeared. As of 2011, the future of standardized, centrally printed topographical maps is left somewhat in doubt.

## Uses

Topographic maps have multiple uses in the present day: any type of geographic planning
Planning
Planning in organizations and public policy is both the organizational process of creating and maintaining a plan; and the psychological process of thinking about the activities required to create a desired goal on some scale. As such, it is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior...

or large-scale architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

; earth sciences and many other geographic
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

disciplines; mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

and other earth-based endeavours; and recreational uses such as hiking
Hiking
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking...

or, in particular, orienteering
Orienteering
Orienteering is a family of sports that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain, and normally moving at speed. Participants are given a topographical map, usually a specially prepared orienteering map, which they...

, which uses highly detailed maps in its standard requirements.

## Map conventions

The various features shown on the map are represented by conventional signs or symbols. For example, colors can be used to indicate a classification of roads. These signs are usually explained in the margin of the map, or on a separately published characteristic sheet.

Topographic maps are also commonly called contour maps or topo maps. In the United States, where the primary national series is organized by a strict 7.5 minute grid, they are often called topo quads or quadrangles.

Topographic maps conventionally show topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

, or land contours, by means of contour line
Contour line
A contour line of a function of two variables is a curve along which the function has a constant value. In cartography, a contour line joins points of equal elevation above a given level, such as mean sea level...

s. Contour lines are curve
Curve
In mathematics, a curve is, generally speaking, an object similar to a line but which is not required to be straight...

s that connect contiguous points of the same altitude
Altitude
Altitude or height is defined based on the context in which it is used . As a general definition, altitude is a distance measurement, usually in the vertical or "up" direction, between a reference datum and a point or object. The reference datum also often varies according to the context...

(isohypse). In other words, every point on the marked line of 100 m elevation
Elevation
The elevation of a geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface ....

is 100 m above mean sea level.

These maps usually show not only the contours, but also any significant stream
Stream
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

s or other bodies of water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

cover, built-up areas or individual buildings (depending on scale), and other features and points of interest.

Today, topographic maps are prepared using photogrammetric
Photogrammetry
Photogrammetry is the practice of determining the geometric properties of objects from photographic images. Photogrammetry is as old as modern photography and can be dated to the mid-nineteenth century....

interpretation of aerial photography
Aerial photography
Aerial photography is the taking of photographs of the ground from an elevated position. The term usually refers to images in which the camera is not supported by a ground-based structure. Cameras may be hand held or mounted, and photographs may be taken by a photographer, triggered remotely or...

, LIDAR
LIDAR
LIDAR is an optical remote sensing technology that can measure the distance to, or other properties of a target by illuminating the target with light, often using pulses from a laser...

and other Remote sensing
Remote sensing
Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon, without making physical contact with the object. In modern usage, the term generally refers to the use of aerial sensor technologies to detect and classify objects on Earth by means of propagated signals Remote sensing...

techniques. Older topographic maps were prepared using traditional surveying
Surveying
See Also: Public Land Survey SystemSurveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the distances and angles between them...

instruments.

## Publishers of national topographic map series

Although virtually the entire terrestrial surface of Earth has been mapped at scale 1:1,000,000, medium and large-scale mapping has been accomplished intensively in some countries and much less in others. Nevertheless national mapping programs listed below are only a partial selection. Several commercial vendors supply international topographic map series.

### Australia

The National Mapping Information Group of Geoscience Australia
Geoscience Australia
Geoscience Australia is an agency of the Australian federal government. It carries out geoscientific research.On a user pays basis it produces geospatial products such as topographic maps and satellite imagery.-History:...

is the Australian Government's national mapping agency. It provides topographic maps and data to meet the needs of the sustainable development of the nation. The Office of Spatial Data Management provides an online free map service MapConnect. These topographic maps of scales 1:250,000 and 1:100,000 are available in printed form from the Sales Centre. 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 maps are produced in conjunction with the Department of Defence
Department of Defence (Australia)
The Australian Department of Defence is a Federal Government Department. It forms part of the Australian Defence Organisation along with the Australian Defence Force . The Defence mission is to defend Australia and its national interests...

.

### Austria

Austrian Maps is the government agency producing topographic maps of Austria, which are distributed by Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen (BEV) in Vienna. The maps are published at scales 1:25,000 1:50,000 1:200,000 and 1:500,000. Maps can also be viewed online.

The Centre for Topographic Information produces topographic maps of Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

at scales of 1:50,000 and 1:250,000. They are known as the National Topographic System
National Topographic System
The National Topographic System or NTS is the topographic system used by Canada for providing general purpose maps of the country. NTS maps are available in 1/50,000 and 1/250,000 scales. The maps provide details on landforms and terrain, lakes and rivers, forested areas, administrative zones,...

(NTS). A government proposal to discontinue publishing of all hardcopy or paper topographic maps in favor of digital-only mapping data was shelved in 2006 after intense public opposition.

### China

The State Bureau of Surveying and Cartography compiles topographic maps at 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scales. It is reported that these maps are accurate and attractively printed in seven colors, and that successive editions show progressive improvement in accuracy.

These large-scale maps are the basis for maps at smaller scales. Maps at scales 1:4,000,000 or smaller are exported by Cartographic Publishing House, Beijing while larger-scale maps are restricted as state secrets. China's topographic maps follow the international system of subdivision
International Map of the World
The International Map of the World was a project begun in 1913 to create a complete map of the world according to internationally agreed standards...

with 1:100,000 maps spanning 30 minutes longitude by 20 minutes latitude.

### Denmark

The National Survey and Cadastre of Denmark
National Survey and Cadastre of Denmark
The National Survey and Cadastre of Denmark , short KMS, is the Danish state owned central agency responsible for surveying, mapping and land registering of all of Denmark, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and all waters associated with these...

is responsible for producing topographic and nautical geodata of Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

and the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

.

### Finland

The National Land Survey of Finland produces the Topographic Database (accuracy 1:5000-1:10 000) and publishes topographic maps of Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

at 1:25,000 and 1:50,000. In addition topographics maps can be viewed by using a free map service MapSite.

### France

The Institut Géographique National
Institut géographique national (France)

(IGN) produces topographic maps of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

at 1:25,000 and 1:50,000. In addition, topographic maps are freely accessible online, through the Géoportail
Géoportail
Géoportail is a web mapping service of the French government whose aim is to publicise geographical data about the whole French territory. This service, developed by two public agencies , was officially inaugurated on June 23, 2006 by president Jacques Chirac...

website.

### Germany

In principle, each federal state (Bundesland) is in charge of producing the official topographic maps. In fact, the maps between 1:5,000 and 1:100,000 are produced and published by the land surveying offices of each federal state, the maps between 1:200,000 and 1:1,000,000 by a federal office – the Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie (BKG) in Frankfurt am Main.

### Greece

Topographic maps for general use are available at 1:50,000 and 1:100,000 from the Hellenic Military Geographical Service
Hellenic Military Geographical Service
The Hellenic Military Geographical Service or HMGS -History:Established in 1889 as the “Geodetic Mission” with the purpose of compiling the “Topographic and Cadastral Map of the Country”, the service acquired its current name in 1926...

(HMGS)
. They use a national projection system called EGSA'87, which is a Transverse Mercatorial Projection mapping Greece in one zone. A few areas are also available at 1:25,000. Some private firms sell topographic maps of national parks based on HMGS topography.

### India

The Survey of India
Survey of India
The Survey of India is India's central engineering agency in charge of mapping and surveying. Set up in 1767 to help consolidate the territories of the British East India Company, it is one of the oldest Engineering Departments of the Government of India...

is responsible for all topographic control, surveys and mapping of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

.

### Japan

The Geographical Survey Institute of Japan is responsible for base mapping of Japan. Standard map scales are 1:25,000, 1:50,000, 1:200,000 and 1:500,000.

### New Zealand

Land Information New Zealand is the government agency responsible for providing up-to-date topographic mapping. LINZ topographic maps cover all of New Zealand, offshore islands, some Pacific Islands and the Ross Sea Region. The standard issue NZTopo map series was published September 2009 at 1:50,000 (NZTopo50), and 1:250,000 (NZTopo250). Vector data from the New Zealand Topographic Database (NZTopo) is also available.

### Pakistan

The responsibility for topographic mapping and aerial photography lies with the Surveyor General of Pakistan [SGP]. Established in 1947, the Survey of Pakistan (SOP) is based in Rawalpindi with a number of regional offices distributed at urban centers throughout Pakistan. SGP is a civil organization which, for security reasons, is headed by a Surveyor General and works under the strict control of Army General Headquarters (GHQ). Colonel C.A.K. Innes-Wilson, a Royal Engineers officer who joined the Survey of India which mapped the subcontinent, was the first Surveyor General of Pakistan.

All departments which require topographic maps make their request to SGP and many are permanently registered with it for mapping and aerial photographs procurement. The SOP performs these functions under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Organisationally, the SOP is overseen by the Surveyor General (SG) who is a direct military appointee and a senior uniformed officer. The SG reports directly to the Secretary of Defence. Under the SG are two Deputy SG’s (I and II) who manage the operational departments of the agency and a Senior Technical Advisor. These departments are divided into Regional Directorates for Topographic Mapping including the Northern region centred in Peshawar, Eastern region (Lahore), Western region (Quetta) and finally, the Southern region in Karachi. Responsibility for fields surveys and the maintenance/update of topographic maps are sub-divided according to these geographic areas.

### Russia

Detailed, accurate topographic maps have long been a military priority. They are currently produced by the Military-topographic service of armed forces of the Russian Federation . Military topographic mapping departments held other titles in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

since 1793 and in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

where these maps also came to be used for internal control
Cheka
Cheka was the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created by a decree issued on December 20, 1917, by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently led by aristocrat-turned-communist Felix Dzerzhinsky...

and economic development
Economy of the Soviet Union
The economy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was based on a system of state ownership of the means of production, collective farming, industrial manufacturing and centralized administrative planning...

.

Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

, detailed maps from the USSR's western borders to the Volga River
Volga River
The Volga is the largest river in Europe in terms of length, discharge, and watershed. It flows through central Russia, and is widely viewed as the national river of Russia. Out of the twenty largest cities of Russia, eleven, including the capital Moscow, are situated in the Volga's drainage...

became an urgent task, accomplished in less than one year. After the war years the entire Soviet Union was mapped at scales down to 1:25,000 -- even 1:10,000 for the agriculturally productive fraction. The rest of the world except Antarctica is believed to have been mapped at scales down to 1:200,000, with regions of special interest down to 1:50,000 and many urban areas to 1:10,000. In all there may have been over one million map sheets of high quality and detail. Soviet maps were also notable for their consistent global indexing system. These advantages held for Soviet military maps of other countries, although there were some errors due to faulty intelligence.

Soviet maps for domestic civilian purposes were often of lower quality. From 1919 to 1967 they were produced by Head geodesic adminstration , then by Chief administration of geodesy and cartography . Now (June 2011) civilian maps are produced by the Federal agency for geodesy and carography .

Soviet military maps were state secrets. After the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, many maps leaked into the public domain and are available for download. Map scales 1:100.000 - 1:500.000 can be viewed online.

### Spain

The Instituto Geográfico Nacional
Instituto Geográfico Nacional (Spain)
The Instituto Geográfico Nacional , or National Geographic Institute is a Spanish government agency, dependent on the Spanish Ministry of Public Works...

(IGN) is responsible for the official topographic maps. It does use six scales that cover all the Spanish territory: 1:25,000, 1:50,000, 1:200,000, 1:500,000, 1:1,000,000 and 1:2,000,000. The commonest scale is the first one, which utilizes the UTM system.

### South Africa

The Chief Directorate: National Geo-spatial Information
Chief Directorate: National Geo-spatial Information
The Chief Directorate: National Geo-spatial Information or CD:NGI , is the national mapping agency of South Africa. It is part of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.- External links :* *...

(CD:NGI) produces three topographic map series, each covering the whole country, at scales 1:50 000, 1:250 000, and 1:500 000.

### Switzerland

Swisstopo
Swisstopo
Swisstopo is the official name for the Swiss Federal Office of Topography , Switzerland's national mapping agency.The current pseudo-English name was made official in 2002...

(the Federal Office of Topography) produces topographic maps of Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

at seven different scales.

### United Kingdom

The Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey , an executive agency and non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom, is the national mapping agency for Great Britain, producing maps of Great Britain , and one of the world's largest producers of maps.The name reflects its creation together with...

(OS) produces topographic map series covering the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

at 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scales. The 1:25,000 scale is known as the "Explorer" series, and include an "OL" (Outdoor Leisure) sub-series for areas of special interest to hikers and walkers. It replaced the "Pathfinder" series, which was less colourful and covered a smaller area on each map. The 1:50,000 scale is known as the "Landranger" and carries a distinctive pink cover. More detailed mapping as fine as 1:10000 cover some parts of the country. The 1:25K and 1:50K metric scales are easily coordinated with standard romer
Romer
A Reference Card or "Romer" is a device for increasing the accuracy when reading a grid reference from a map. Made from transparent plastic, paper or other materials, they are also found on most baseplate compasses. Essentially, it is a specially marked-out ruler which matches the scale of the map...

scales on currently available compasses and plotting tools. The Ordnance Survey maintains a mapping database from which they can print specialist maps at virtually any scale.

Ordnance Survey National Grid divides the U.K. into cells 500 km. and 100 km.square on a Transverse Mercator grid aligned true North-South along the 2°W meridian
Meridian (geography)
A meridian is an imaginary line on the Earth's surface from the North Pole to the South Pole that connects all locations along it with a given longitude. The position of a point along the meridian is given by its latitude. Each meridian is perpendicular to all circles of latitude...

. OS map products are based on this grid.

### United States

The United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

(USGS), a civilian Federal agency, produces several national series of topographic maps which vary in scale
Scale (map)
The scale of a map is defined as the ratio of a distance on the map to the corresponding distance on the ground.If the region of the map is small enough for the curvature of the Earth to be neglected, then the scale may be taken as a constant ratio over the whole map....

and extent, with some wide gaps in coverage, notably the complete absence of 1:50,000 scale topographic maps or their equivalent. The largest (both in terms of scale and quantity) and best-known topographic series is the 7.5-minute or 1:24,000 quadrangle
In Euclidean plane geometry, a quadrilateral is a polygon with four sides and four vertices or corners. Sometimes, the term quadrangle is used, by analogy with triangle, and sometimes tetragon for consistency with pentagon , hexagon and so on...

. This scale is virtually unique to the United States and offers a convenient relation to customary units of measure
United States customary units
United States customary units are a system of measurements commonly used in the United States. Many U.S. units are virtually identical to their imperial counterparts, but the U.S. customary system developed from English units used in the British Empire before the system of imperial units was...

where 1 map inch equals 2,000 actual feet. USGS also publishes 1:25,000 maps for metric uses, 1:100,000 maps covering 30 minutes latitude by one degree longitude, 1:250,000 covering one by two degrees, and state maps at 1:500,000 with California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

and Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

needing two sheets while Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

is mapped on a single sheet, at scales ranging from 1:1,584,000 to 1:12,000,000.
• National Geographic TOPO offers topographic maps on CD-ROM by state. While as yet incomplete nationwide, efforts are underway to accomplish this.

• Map series
Map series
A map series is a group of topographic or thematic maps or charts usually having the same scale and cartographic specifications, and with each sheet appropriately identified by its publisher as belonging to the same series....

• Bathymetric chart
• Hypsometric tints
Hypsometric tints
Hypsometric tints are related to contour lines. They can be used to depict ranges of elevation as bands of color, usually in a graduated scheme, or as a color ramp applied to contour lines themselves. A typical scheme progresses from dark greens for lower elevations up through yellows/browns, and...

• Topographic profile
Topographic profile
A topographic profile is a cross sectional view along a line drawn through a portion of a topographic map. In other words, if you could slice through a portion of the earth, pull away one half, and look at it from the side, the surface would be a topographic profile.Not only does constructing a...

• Raised-relief map
Raised-relief map
A raised-relief map or terrain model is a three-dimensional representation, usually of terrain. When representing terrain, the elevation dimension is usually exaggerated by a factor between five and ten; this facilitates the visual recognition of terrain features.-History:In his 1665 paper for the...

• Stereoplotter
Stereoplotter
A stereoplotter uses stereo photographs to determine elevations. It has been the primary method to plot contour lines on topographic maps since the 1930’s...

• International Map of the World
International Map of the World
The International Map of the World was a project begun in 1913 to create a complete map of the world according to internationally agreed standards...

• UK Worldwide Map