These worksheets work on understanding the basic principles of topography of landforms and waterways.

In its purest sense, topography is a look at features of the Earth and natural and manmade formations on Earth. Topographical maps help us get a true sense of an area. They show height changes and features of any area. These maps show us where land elevates or descends and where water forms come into play. Most contour maps, these days, are generated by satellite images. Many satellites have the capability to self-draw these maps. Being able to design and read topographic maps is critical for navigators of marine vehicles and aircraft. These maps tell the navigators safe passages to follow. They can quickly indicate steep slopes or cliffs above and underwater.

These worksheets will help students learn how to read and interpret contour lines as well as how to draw them. They will also help students explore the natural flow of rivers and waterways. Students will see how that current can help shape landmasses. We will look at how to read a wide variety of maps for location and a perspective about the land we are investigating. The worksheets look at oceanic currents, reading contour and topographical maps, the makeup of river systems, reading all forms of maps, and making your own topographical maps.

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Ocean Currents

Ocean water circulates around the world in streams called currents. The major currents have their own names.

Topo Map: Contour Lines

Topographic maps show the elevations and slopes of hills, valleys, and other natural features by the use of contour lines.

Drawing Contour Lines

Draw a series of contour lines on the map below using the elevations shown as a guide. The sea level elevation line is provided and you should draw contour lines at intervals of 20 meters.

Complete the Topography Map

Topographical maps are like regular maps in that they give the geographical positions, but they also give elevations of both manmade and natural features. Using the contour lines and contour intervals, provide a range for the elevations of the features on this map.

Features of Rivers

Rivers erode their channels and as they do so they go through different stages of development and create different features.

Flow of Rivers

Rivers typically begin as a melting glacier or a collection of small streams high up in a set of hills. As the river waters flow downhill they reshape the land by eroding features and transporting materials such as stones, sand, and clay. Eventually the river ends in a lake or the ocean. The term river system is used to describe the river itself and all the water that flows into it.

Glacier Anatomy

Glaciers are large structures made of ice that gradually move down the sides of a mountain. As they do so, they carry tons of trapped rock and scrape and grind the mountain walls. The enormous and sustained force reshapes the mountain sides and slopes in its path and leaves behind deposits of rock carried from other areas.

Describing Latitude and Longitude

The lines of latitude and longitude are used to locate points of the surface of the Earth. The lines of latitude run from East to West and the lines of Longitude run from North to South.

Map Design

Maps are very valuable tools, but using them properly requires knowing several aspects of the way maps are made. Most maps have several features that are essential for using them to their full potential, but they are useful only if you know to use their many features.

Building a Topographic Maps

Use the set benchmark points below to draw contour lines on the topographic map. The lines should be drawn in 20 foot intervals.

Building a Topographic Map off of Benchmarks

Use the benchmark points below to draw contour lines. The contour lines should be drawn at 20 foot intervals.

Building a Colorful Topographic Map off of Benchmarks

Use the benchmark points below to draw contour lines. The contour lines should be drawn at 20 foot intervals. When you complete the contour lines, fill each layer in with a different color.

Take a Hike

Use the topographic to make a bar graph as you travel from Point A, B, C, D, E.

Hike Back

Take the points in order.

Topographic Map Questions

Which letter is located at the highest land point?

Sightseeing with a Topographic Map

Use the contour lines to label the elevations of each point on the map.

Sightseeing with a Topographic Map

Where are those peaks and valleys?