The importance of using contour lines in teaching

T. Saint  Pierre

Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires


The representation of relief is a difficult task to carry out because it requires adequate methods depending on the aim and the scale of work. The symbolization should appear to be natural and at the same time should allow the measurement of slopes and altitudes of the earth surface. One of the most useful methods of representation is the use of contour lines, as they fulfill these two requirements.

The use of maps is of essential importance, not only for the location of relevant physical features but also for determining the morphological characteristics. From this point of view, the use of contour lines is increasingly important. 

The aim of this paper is to enphasize the usefulness of understanding and applying contour lines to maps.

One of the methodologies to apply is based in the analysis of topographical maps compared with other types of representations such us block diagrams, terrestrial and aerial photographs, digital elevation models (DEM), etc. In this way we can obtain a lot of different type of information from both contour lines and photographs. We also propose practical activities and exercises.