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Houston Hughes SPC-205-W05 August 23, 2011 How to read a topographic map. General Purpose: To inform Specific Purpose: As a result of my speech my audience will be able to clearly read and identify parts of a topographic map. Central Idea: To read a topographic map correctly one should follow four important steps: study the title of your map; examine your legend; study the contour lines; and view the map in 3D. Introduction: I. Topographic maps are not just any ordinary map.

There are a few rules that a topographic map must obey, and once you understand these rules and how to read the map it can become an extremely useful and easy to use tool. II. The ability to read maps can save your life if you find yourself lost. III. According to the Visordown News 67% of people under the age of 25 can’t read a map. IV. You can follow four easy steps to avoid being lost. A. First, study the title of your map B. Second, examine your legend C. Third, study the contour lines D. Fourth, view your map in 3D Transition: So let us look at the first step.

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Body: I. (First Step) Study the title of your map. –(Show poster) A. Read the title 1. Notice that some map titles give out locations to help readers understand. 2. Gather information about the title. B. Notice the theme being presented 1. If the title is long it will be easier to understand. 2. If the title is short it may be harder for a new map reader to grasp its intentions. C. Notice all other text 1. Titles can be understood better by looking at legends, dates, and even the cartographer’s name. 2. The other text on the map will be important in understanding your title.

Transition: Once you understand your title and what your map is being used to show, you are ready for to examine your legend. II. (Second Step) Examine your legend. A. Look at the symbols. 1. Make sure to get a general idea of what each symbol represents. 2. Make sure the symbols are exactly on the map as they are on the legend. B. Legend is important too 1. Keep in mind the legend is as important as the title. 2. The legend can give more information about the map than anything else. C. Not all maps require legends. Transition: If you feel you know what your legend is symbolizing you can start to study your contours.

III. (Third Step) Study your contour lines. A. Contour lines show elevation. 1. There are numbers all over the topographic map this is the elevation. 2. If you were to follow one line the elevation would remain the same. 3. The lines are evenly spaced apart. B. Contour lines show shape of the terrain. 1. Not only can you see elevation but you can understand what it is you are looking at. 2. Try to capture a model in your head. Transition: Now that you have studied your contour lines you can start to understand the 3D image of what you’re looking at. IV. ( Fourth Step) View your map in 3D.

A. Use contour lines to start your Image. 1. Your map is only in 2D, you will have to use your contours to start the 3D. 2. Start with your lowest point and then your highest point. B. View of a 3D will increase understanding. C. Get a professional to construct 3D map. Transition: As you can see it isn’t to difficult to follow steps for reading a map. Let’s look at our major points one last time. Conclusion: I. There are four steps in reading a topographic map correctly. A. First, study the title of your map B. Second, examine your legend C. Third, study the contour lines D.

Fourth, view your map in 3D II. I hope you will be able to read a map if you ever get lost or want to help someone who is lost. Works Cited “Map Reading – Basics of Map Reading. ” Geography Home Page – Geography at About. com. 02 Mar. 2011. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://geography. about. com/od/studygeography/a/mapparts. htm>. “Young Adults Can’t Read Maps – Motorcycle News: Bizarre – Visordown. ” Visordown – Motorbike Reviews | Motorbike News | Motorcycle Forums. 8 July 2011. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://www. visordown. com/motorcycle-news-bizarre/young-adults-cant-read-maps/18507. html>.


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