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What is Topography?
She’ll be coming around the mountain, but what will her road look like? Take a real or invented mountain, model it out of clay, and discover how we can represent it using topography. So what is topography, anyway? It's a field of earth science that involves studying and modeling the surface shapes and features of the earth (and even other planets!). Whether you have a picture of a mountain in your mind or you have a mountain of your own you’d like to create, this hands-on experiment will help you understand the tough work of a cartographer.
Cartographers make, read, and learn from maps. You may have seen maps that look like a lot of squiggly lines on paper. These are topographic maps. Sometimes the lines are wiggly; sometimes they are straight. They may be very close together or far apart. These lines represent the three-dimensional landscape drawn in two dimensions. Elevation, or the height of a landform, can be tough to show in two dimensions. The steepness, also known as the slope, can be hard to demonstrate as well—but it’s possible!
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