Topographic maps can be confusing to look at if you don’t know what to look for. Unfortunately, if you are out and about in the wilderness, it is the only thing you have to help you get back to where you need to be. At first glance they appear to be nothing more than a bunch of lines running around the page in circles, where some of them are squeezed close together while others are stretched far apart. The trick to reading a topographic map is familiarising yourself with all the key aspects of the map itself. Once you get the hang of those you keep looking at it until you start to build a mental picture of where everything is.
That sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is, but if you still feel unsure you can get software that will help you read and navigate through it. Buy elevation topographic maps Australia would be the search you do online and you will get directed to a site that offers you the app to download directly to your cell phone. A topographic map mainly consists of contour lines, and the app will tell what those contour lines are actually doing. By definition a contour is a line that marks a particular height above sea level. If you follow a single contour line, you will come across the point where there is a number embedded in the line. That is the exact height above sea level for that line. It also means that at every point along that line will be at that level.
The reason for the distance between the lines is basically because of the slopes. A gentle slope would increase gradually in height, and so the distance between contour lines will increase. The same applies to the ones that are close together for steep hills. A quick rise in altitude would mean more lines in a smaller space, and so the contours get bunched together. The whole idea is to give you a bird’s eye view of a large area in three dimensions. What that means is you can picture all the hills and valleys from directly above. The lines have colours to represent different structures or features, and each map will refer to them. When you look at a map it is always important to orientate with true north to ensure that you navigate it correctly.
If all else fails you can simply switch on your phone and use the app to help you get out of a sticky situation.