To make sure that maps are as easy to understand as as possible, map makers have developed standard ways to show all this information. This means that when you are looking at one map, the information is given to you in exactly the same way on all others. Contour lines are drawn on the map to represent the height and shape of the land and also how steep the slopes are.

Download this ActiveWorksheet


Contours, Height and Shape

It’s really important to know how high the land is, especially if you have to walk or drive over it. As well as knowing how high or low land is, it’s also important to know how steep it is. It’s no good if a map only told you that the height was 50m but didn’t tell you that it was a steep cliff!

The image triggers a demonstration in 3D of contours and how they relate to the map.