What is Topography?

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What is Meant by Topography?

The detailed study of different types of landforms and their attributes is known as topography. The term is also present in biology and it falls under the chapter of microscopy. However, the topography biology definition has similarities with the geographic one as it means the study of the physical properties of an object. 

Here, we will discuss geographical topography. The ways of handling the topographic maps are discussed here. Moreover, you can define topography easily as you know the process of using it to solve different problems related to it. As a school student of any education board, you would have to study topography along with geography in the secondary and higher-secondary standards.    

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What is Topography Meaning in Geography?

Topography in geography deals with the study of the surface of the earth or other celestial bodies. The main tool necessary for the study of topography is a toposheet. Toposheets are mainly available in parts divided concerning the area. 

Every minute detail of the land is present on the toposheet. While observing a topographic map you can observe the natural features along with the roads, drainage, buildings, and water bodies. It also shows the altitude of the place. However, these are the topography examples that are denoted in multiple toposheets. 

To theoretically denote a particular location you need to write the coordinates of the place. All toposheets contain the coordinates. You can find the gridlines forming the squares. These are topographic latitudes and longitudes. 

Procedures of Topographic Survey

There are two ways by which you can carry out topographic surveys on a toposheet. They are direct and indirect surveys. These are the techniques to gather information about a particular place. All the information is later used to create an area-wise toposheet for documentation. The details of the survey techniques are as follows:

Indirect Survey

Indirect survey in topography means gaining data with the help of satellite images, images taken from the flight, or radar images. Scientists studying topography prefer indirect surveys for their cost-effectiveness. Nowadays, indirect surveys take place with the help of remote sensing and it saves a lot of time and physical effort for the scientists. Usage of sonar to take note of the ocean floor conditions also falls under the indirect survey. 

Direct Survey 

The direct survey in topography is trickier than the indirect survey and it is time-consuming.  The instruments needed for the direct survey are theodolites, clinometers, and levels. It is done to survey landscapes. Concerning the studies, both direct and indirect topographic surveys are covered at the college levels. However, a few advanced educational boards make the students study the basics at the higher-secondary levels. 

Importance of Topography

Topography is important for many reasons and you should try to understand it while studying it. At school levels, basic topography can help you to score outstanding marks. The study of topography is important as it helps people of different fields to understand the condition of the land and take actions in a written way. 

Topography and Agriculture

Right topography can help agricultural experts to take the right track in conserving the soil. A continuous study of an area of land topographically can help scientists to understand the condition of the soil. Moreover, they can understand if soil conservation is needed or not.

If the scientists can gather authentic information about a piece of land with the help of topography, the right conservation techniques can be applied to ensure proper conservation of soil. Conditions like soil erosion can be minimized to a large extent. 

Topography and Weather

The weather office relies on the topographic outcomes mostly when it comes to giving the forecast. Topography helps the weather officials to understand the altitude and land condition and say about the wound gusts, storms, etc. 

Topography and Engineering

Civil engineers mostly need toposheets to examine the land surface of a specific construction site.

At times they also note down the 4 or 56 figure coordinates of a site. 

Topography in Army Use

The army of the country uses the topographic map to study a place. It helps them to locate all minute details of a place within an area.

Solved Examples

Q1.  What is the Information Present on the Margins of the Toposheet also called?

Answer: The other name for the marginal information of a topographic map is known as the primary information. It is called so as an individual can get access to all necessary information about the map at the margin. 

Q2. What should be the Direction at Your Left if you are Facing the rising Sun?

Answer: If you are facing the rising sun, you are facing east and the direction at your next should be north. You can always find north demarcation on a map or a toposheet. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is the Right Way to Prepare the basics of Topography?

Answer: There is no one approach to learn the basics of topography. However, you must always have proper knowledge about geography to learn topography. If your concept of geography is outstanding, it will be easier for you to understand the topographic maps. Once you understand the process of deriving the 4 or 6 letter coordinates from a map, you can easily detect all minute things on the map. 


Apart from deriving the coordinates, you must check all the marks from the index properly to comfortably study a map. In advanced stages, you can make topographic maps on your own. Taking the topography and geography courses from Vedantu can help you understand the concepts easily. 

Q2. Why should you Handle Topographic Maps with Care?

Answer: A topographic map should be handled with care as it is documentation of the types of landforms present at a particular place. In India, only a few topographic maps are available for civilian usage. Being a student or an engineer, you can find these from the geological survey offices. While you are handling the topographic maps, make sure the edges do not tear off. However, digital toposheets are available nowadays on many authentic websites. Here, you can learn topology with the help of authentic maps. The experts of Vedantu can teach you topology online along with the topology examples. 

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