Map Cataloging Examples

Below are a selection of portions of maps, geographic diagrams, and other images used for the Map Cataloging Tool Box.

Topographic maps have contours and spot heights, among other features that are rendered. Note also the Bench Mark (BM) and the Contour interval (10 feet on this map). The interval refers to the distance between two points where the elevation increases/decreases by 10 feet. This changes depending on the "contour interval" of the map. (See next image)
topographic map showing contours and spot heights
Contours and form lines are drawn on a map by projecting the 3-D ground onto a flat surface.
how contours are created on maps
Nautical chart showing both ISOLINES and SOUNDINGS. These relate to topographic maps as contours and spot heights.
Map showing hachures and pictorial relief.
Relief samples
How hachures are developed (different methods).
Hachures images
The map below shows both form lines and pictorial relief.
relief sample maps
Landform maps show relief in a more pictorial way. The shapes are general and not specific to the place being mapped.
Landform map
Portion of a bird's eye view of Paris
bird's eye view

Topographic-Bathymetric map of Crater Lake. Compare with below edition that includes different relief techniques.

500 Relief shown by contours and spot heights. Depth shown by isolines and soundings.


Topographic-Bathymetric map of Crater Lake. (Shading is added; contours still exist but are toned down.)

500 Relief shown by shading and spot heights. Depth shown by isolines and soundings.

In this situation, if the contours are considered significant to note, then the following would be valid:

500 Relief shown by shading, contours, and spot heights. Depth shown by isolines and soundings.


Typical topographic map layout. Filing title and dates, along with other descriptive data is found along the bottom edge of the sheet.

map in drawer
Sample 7.5 minute Topo
Title of Map
top ri
Filing title, date, series (note type), other data.
lower ri
Statement of responsibility, additional notes on compilation and date information.
lower l
Scale and contour data (for scale and for note on contour intervals).
This uses hypsometric (elevation) tints to display relative elevations.
Hypsometric map
When this type of bar appears on a map, it is a tip-off that hypsometric tints are being used.
Hypsometric scale
This shows both hypsometric (elevation) color use, and shading to show relative relief.
Relief examples
Shaded relief map (only shading is used on this example).
Shaded relief map

Example of a Bar Scale and Representative Fraction (scale ratio)

bar scale example




David J. Bertuca, Map Librarian, University at Buffalo.

Last Modified: 25 April 2013
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The materials selected above do not necessarily reflect the policies and procedures of the State University of New York at Buffalo.