Activity 2: The Visual Presentation of Spatial Data
In addition to showing position, a map can be used to show other characteristics at any point on the Earth’s surface. For example, we could describe a particular spot by its elevation, the number of individuals living in the vicinity, or the weather it was experiencing on March 27, 1997. Contour maps summarize visually spatiallydistributed numerical data.


Fig. 1: Map showing the acidity of rainfall across the United States between March 25 and April 21, 1991.

  • Contour maps depict a variety of data that vary spatially.  More...
  • Topographic maps provide a representation of the Earth's surface.  More...
  • Gradient is the steepness of the plotted surface and can be calculated readily from a contour map.  More...
Rules for creating a contour map. Practice drawing a contour map
To complete Activity 2, select one of these files:word.gif (252 bytes)

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