
World
Builders™
Session
Two  Geology
Making a Relief Map


Relief
maps, also called topographic
maps, show the high and low places
of a landscape.

Map courtesy of Chalk Butte Digital
Maps

Here
is a beautiful relief
map. Can you see
the mountain?
Can you see
rivers? Maps can
show where the hills
and valleys of a
landscape are.
Relief
maps help us to understand what a piece of land is like by showing
us where the high and low places are.
This section explains what the maps mean and
how to make such a map.
Let's learn
how to make a simple relief map by making a map ourselves. We
will start with this pyramid and make a relief map of it.

Step
One
The first step is to decide on your measuring
units. This pyramid is about 300 feet high. I have decided to
measure it in 50 foot increments. By this I mean
color 
Elevation of The Section 

between 250 ft and 300 feet 

between 200 ft and 250 feet 

between 150 ft and 200 feet 

between 100 ft and 150 feet 

Between 50 ft and 100 feet 

Between 0 ft and 50 feet 
Notice that I have marked a measuring rod.
I use the measuring rod to find the elevations
of different parts of the pyramid. I make dots all around the
pyramid where the pyramid is 50 feet above the ground. When I
have finished, I join the dots with a line. Next I make dots
around the pyramid where it is 100 feet up from ground level
and join that set of dots. I do this for each level. The lines
that join the dots are called contour lines.
Note that we are not measuring up the slanted
side of the pyramid. We are measuring the distance straight up
from the ground.
Step
Two
Now we color in each level of the pyramid to
correspond with the elevation colors that we have chosen.
color 
Elevation of The Section 

between 250 ft and 300 feet 

between 200 ft and 250 feet 

between 150 ft and 200 feet 

between 100 ft and 150 feet 

Between 50 ft and 100 feet 

Between 0 ft and 50 feet 
Step Three
Even though the
pyramid sides slope upward, we will make the sides vertical,
in order to show the greatest area at each elevation level.
This makes the colored areas into rectangles.
Step Four
Now let's cut the pyramid horizontally to
separate the colors.
Step Five
Because the pyramid has four sides, the pieces
that we cut are squares of different sizes.
When we lay them out, they look like this.
Step Six
If we put one color on top of another, the
stack of colors will look like this.
color 
Elevation of The Section 

between 250 ft and 300 feet 

between 200 ft and 250 feet 

between 150 ft and 200 feet 

between 100 ft and 150 feet 

Between 50 ft and 100 feet 

Between 0 ft and 50 feet 


We have just made a relief map!
By comparing the colors, we can see which
parts of the map represent the tallest part of the pyramid.
Step Seven
Compare these two pictures. You can see a model
and a picture. Match the colors up!
Did You Get It?
Of course, people don't make maps of pyramids.
The map of a planet has many different types of changes in elevation.
Did you get the idea?
Try this. Here is a picture of the elevations
of an island.
Now, click on the map that
shows the best picture of this island.
Here's something else to
try

From Contour
Map to Landscape Profile

Header
image from NASA Earth from Space
©
1996,1997, 1998, 1999,
2000, 2002, 2003.
Elizabeth
Anne Viau.
All rights reserved.
This material may be
used by individuals
for instructional
purposes but not sold.
Please inform the
author if you use it
at
eviau@earthlink.net
.

