Topography

Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an area could refer to the land forms and features themselves, or a description (especially their depiction in maps).

A topographic map with contour lines
This false-color satellite image illustrates topography of the urban core of the New York metropolitan area, with Manhattan at its center.

Topography is a field of geoscience and planetary science and is concerned with local detail in general, including not only relief, but also natural and artificial features, and even local history and culture[clarification needed]. This meaning is less common in the United States, where topographic maps with elevation contours have made topography synonymous with relief.

Topography in a narrow sense involves the recording of relief or terrain, the three-dimensional quality of the surface, and the identification of specific landforms; this is also known as geomorphometry. In modern usage, this involves generation of elevation data in digital form (DEM). It is often considered to include the graphic representation of the landform on a map by a variety of cartographic relief depiction techniques, including contour lines, hypsometric tints, and relief shading.[1][2][3]


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