What is Contour?

What is Contour?

A contour is an imaginary line on the ground joining the point having equal elevation or a line joining the points of the same elevation is known as a contour line. A map or plan representing a three-dimensional picture of the ground with the help of the contour line is called a contour map or plan.

Characteristics of the contour line

1. All the points on a contour line have a similar elevation.

2. Two contour line never intersect each other because each contour line represents own elevation. But in case of the overhanging cliff, the contour lines cross each other.

What is Contour

3. Spacing between contour lines indicates the nature of the ground

  • Closely Spaced - Steep slope
  • Wide apart - gentle or flat slope
  • Equally spaced - uniform slope
What is Contour


4. For undulating ground or broken surface, the contours are irregular, whereas for a plane surface they are straight, parallel and uniformly spaced.

5. Contour lines, cross ridgelines (watershed lines)  and valley lines at right angles. For ridgeline, the higher elevation contours are inside the loop or bend. Valley line indicated by higher elevation contours outside the loop. Valley lines indicates streams or rivers.

What is Contour


6. A series of closed contour lines with higher elevations inside the loop indicates a hill. if in such a closed loop, lower value of contours are inside, it indicates depression or pond.

What is Contour


7. A contour line always closes on either inside the boundary maps or outside it.


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