Topographic Map Review
Arkansas Tech University
This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.
This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: May 2, 2008
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Topographic Map Review is a review exercise assigned at the very beginning of the Geol 3044, Geomorphology course. Students review aspects of reading topograph maps and are introduced to utilizing digital map programs and obtaining topographic information from digitized maps. Topo USA 5.0 is the digital program used in the assignment.
Upper level (junior/3000) level course as a mapping review exercise.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Topographic map reading skills, mathematical quantitative skills, computer skills, and pattern recognition skills (for example, linear ridges usually equal flanks of folds)
How the activity is situated in the course
Review of topographic map reading is a lab-based exercise that precedes field examinatioin of topographic expression of landforms
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Understanding and recognition of topographic expression of landforms is the basis for studies in geomorphology. Topographic maps are one of the main sources of topographic information; so studens must be comfortable with reading topographic maps and acquainted with different sources of topographic map information (quad sheets, digital programs, online digital sources, etc.). This exercise is designed to strengthen student's map reading and map interpretation skills and background.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Higher order thinking skills targeted for this exercise include:
- ability to analyses data
- pattern recognition
- pattern interpretation
- critical evaluation of interpretations
- extending computer skills
Other skills goals for this activity
Description of the activity/assignment
Topographic map review involves the review of topographic quadrangle maps using 7 1/2 Minute USGS Topographic Quadrangle maps and the Topo USA 5.0 digital mapping program. Students are provided with a section reviewing colors, symbols, distance/direction determination, location methods, contour and elevation determination, slope analysis, and envisioning topography from a map. Students are provided the answers to the review section. In a second section, students are asked to answer questions related to distance, location, elevation and contour, slope, and envisioning topography.
Designed for a geomorphology course
Uses online and/or real-time data
Determining whether students have met the goals
assignment is graded for correctness.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Download teaching materials and tips
Topo USA 5.0 DeLorme Program