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1.3.7. Summary


The content of topographic maps consists of the following objects:

  • The earth's surface
  • Water
  • Vegetation
  • Settlement
  • Transportation
  • Administrative Borders
  • Names

Graphical Improvements

Ideally, all the features of a topographic map should appear in their true proportion, position, shape, and colour. Since this is not feasible for all objects, some symbols have to be created to represent the man-made and natural features. These symbols should look as closely as possible to the real features themselves. If this is not possible, a new symbol is created that logically implies the features it portrays.

It is important to prepare the data in a way that the features look naturally. Therefore, polylines or polygons should not have sharp edges except for the real objects really feature them.


Pay attention when defining the order of the available layers of a map. The map is not of a good quality if the objects of the background come to the fore.


All the features of a topographic map should appear in their true colour. Rivers for example should be held in a blue tone, forests in a green tone, etc.

Label Placement

Three label types are distinguished: Point, Line and Area Labels.
The labels of point symbols should be placed at the same position in the entire map. Because it is not always possible to place the names in the same position there exists an order of priority for the label placement.

Depending on the scale factor of a map, the label type may change.


Possible interactive tools for topographic maps are:

  • Creation of a profile
  • Read out the map's information and display it in the application
  • Setting hillshade parameters

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