Iowa Hunter Safety Course

Topographic Maps

Topographic maps give a bird's-eye view of the land. They show the following:

  • A graphic representation of the Earth's surface.
  • Land as seen from above.
  • Detailed information concerning water, vegetation and man-made features of an area.
  • Contour lines.

Contour Lines

Contour lines give a hunter important information about ground elevation, including how steep the ground is. You read this information in order to travel safely when hunting in the woods. A contour line is a continuous line of the same elevation (or height) around the edge of a feature. For example, contour lines close together signify a steep slope. Contour lines farther apart, signify a gently rising slope.