What do You Understand By Contour Line, it’s Various Type & Applications

A Contour line is a bend that joins purposes of equivalent worth. In cartography, contour lines join the purposes of equivalent height over a given standard level like the mean ocean level. A contour map is a guide to represent the geographical highlights of a territory utilizing form lines. It is regularly used to show the statures, slants, and profundities of valleys and slopes. The space between two back to back contour lines in a form map is called the form interim which shows the distinction in the rise.

You have to learn ArcGis for the best utilization contour lines in mapping is that it can speak to the XNUMX-dimensional surface of any territory in a XNUMX-dimensional form map. By deciphering the Contour map the client can construe the overall slope of the surface. Be it the profundity or the tallness of a scene, a form guide can speak to the geology of the zone. The space between two contour lines and the separating along form lines furnishes the client with significant data.

The lines can be bent, straight, or a combination of both that do not cross each other. The height reference shown by the isolines is generally the mean altitude of the ocean. The sequential space between the isolines indicates the inclination of the surface under study and is called "interim". In the case that the isolines are spread out strongly, they will show an oblique slope. On the other hand, if the isolines are very far apart, it is called a delicate slope. Streams, waterways in a valley are shown as a "v" or a "u" on a curve map.

Curves are often given names with the prefix "iso" which means "equivalent" in Greek, according to the type of the variable being mapped. The prefix "iso" can be supplanted with "isallo" which determines that the form line joins where a given variable changes at a similar rate over a given period of time. Despite the fact that the term curve is generally used, other names are frequently used in meteorology, where there is a more notable probability of using topographic maps with several factors at a given time. Similarly, evenly spaced spaces and contour lines show uniform slopes.

History of Form Lines

The use of lines joining points of equivalent value has been around for a long time despite the fact that they were known by different names. The first recorded use of contour lines was made to show the depth of the Spaarne waterway near Haarlem by a Dutchman named Pieter Bruinsz in 1584. Isolines signifying constant depth are now known as "isobats." Throughout the 1700s, lines have been used on diagrams and maps to delineate depths and sizes of water bodies and areas. Edmond Halley in 1701 used isogonal contour lines with a more attractive variety. Nicholas Cruquius used isobaths with intervals equivalent to 1 fathom to understand and draw the bed of the Merwede waterway in the year 1727, while Philippe Buache used an intermediate period of 10 fathoms for the English Channel in the year 1737. In 1746 Domenico Vandelli used contour lines to delineate the surface, drawing the guide for the Duchy of Modena and Reggio. In 1774 he directed the Schiehallion test to quantify the average thickness of the Earth. The idea of ​​isolines was used to examine the slopes of mountains as a test. From then on, the use of isolines for cartography became a common strategy. This strategy was used in 1791 by JL Dupain-Treil for a guide to France and in 1801 Haxo used it for his undertakings at Rocca d'Aufo. From that time, there has been a general use of isolines for mapping and different applications.

In 1889 Francis Galton proposed the expression "isogram" as a source of perspective for lines that show uniformity or comparability in subjective or quantitative highlights. The expressions "isogon", "isoline" and "isarhythm" are generally used to represent isolines. The expression "isoclines" refers to a line that gains focus along with an equivalent slope.

Types and Applications of contour lines

contour lines have been utilized broadly in maps and portrayals of graphical and measurable information. contour lines can be drawn as an arrangement see or as a profile see. Plan see permits the portrayal of the guide in a manner an onlooker would see it from above. The profile see is regularly a parameter that is mapped vertically. For example landscapes of an area can be mapped as an arrangement see while the air or commotion contamination in the region can be spoken to as a profile see.

If you find an extremely steep slope in a guide, you will see that the isolines merge into an outline of “carrier” shapes. For this situation, the last contour line sometimes has tick marks indicating low ground. Precipitation is also shown through contour lines close to each other and, in almost no case, do they contact each other or are firmly fixed.

contour lines are utilized in the different fields of concentrate to speak to a lot of information over a locale. In any case, the terms that is utilized to mean the form lines may shift with the variety in the information type that is spoken to.

 Ecology:  Isopleth is utilized for form lines that speak to a variable that can't be estimated at a point however is a subsidiary of information that is gathered over a bigger zone for instance populace thickness.

Correspondingly, in environment Isoflor, an isopleth is utilized to associate districts with comparative organic decent variety demonstrating conveyance examples and patterns of animal varieties.

Environmental science: There are differed uses of form lines in ecological science. Contamination thickness maps are valuable to demonstrate zones of higher and lower sullying levels permitting the probability of scaling contamination in the region.

Isoplats are utilized to demonstrate corrosive precipitation in a guide while isobels are utilized to show levels of commotion contamination in the zone.

The idea of contour lines has been utilized in form planting and form furrowing which is known to diminish soil disintegration by an extraordinary degree in territories along waterway banks or other water bodies.

Social Sciences: Contour lines are much of the time utilized in sociologies to exhibit varieties or to show a relative investigation of a variable over a specific territory. The name of the form line shifts with the kind of data that it speaks to. For instance in Economics form lines are utilized to depict highlights that may shift over a territory, similar to an isodapane speaks to cost of movement time, isotim alludes to the expense of transport from the wellspring of crude materials, isocost bend speaks to rise to creation from elective utilization and Isoquant speaks to rise to amount of generation from elective info uses.

Statistics: In measurable examinations contour lines are utilized to get the focuses together with a similar estimation of likelihood thickness, these are called isodensity lines or as isodensanes.

Meteorology: Contour lines have huge use in meteorology. Information got from climate stations and climate satellites help in making the meteorological contour maps indicating climate conditions like precipitation, pneumatic force over some stretch of time. Isotherms and isobars are utilized in numerous covering contour sets to exhibit different thermodynamic components influencing the climate conditions.

Temperature study: These are a kind of form line that associates focuses in a guide with equivalent temperatures is called an isotherm and those interfacing territories with equivalent sun oriented radiation is called isohel. A contour line interfacing regions with equivalent mean yearly temperature is called as isogeotherms and those associating regions with equivalent mean winter temperature is called as isocheim while that interfacing equivalent mean summer temperature is called as isothere.

Wind study: In meteorology, a contour line getting focuses together with consistent breeze speed is called as isotach. An isogon alludes to a consistent breeze bearing.

Rain and humidity: Several terms are used to name isolines that show points or areas with rainfall and mud content.

  • Isohyet or isohyetal line alludes to rise to precipitation locales in a guide.
  • Isochalaz: joins focuses in a guide speaking to the territories accepting steady recurrence of hailstorms.
  • Isobront: joins focuses in a guide speaking to zones that accomplished rainstorm action at the same time.
  • Isoneph shows equivalent overcast spread.
  • Isohume: alludes to the form line getting territories together with steady relative stickiness
  • Isodrostherm: alludes to steady or rise to dew point zones.
  • Isopectic: Contour line indicates locales with indistinguishable or comparable dates of ice arrangement while isotac alludes to the defrosting dates.

Barometric pressure: In meteorology, the investigation of air pressure is imperative to anticipate future climate designs. The barometric weight is diminished to ocean level when spoken to on a guide. An isobar is a form line that gets the districts together with steady climatic weight. Isoallobars joins focuses in the guide with equivalent weight change over a particular time frame. Isoallobars, thusly, can be isolated into the ketoallobars and the anallobars which speak to diminish and increment in the weight change separately.

Thermodynamics and engineering: Although these fields of concentrate once in a while include a guide form line discovers utilization in the graphical portrayal of information and stage charts a portion of the normal kinds of contour lines utilized in these fields of study are:

  • Isochor represents a constant value of volume
  • Isoclines are utilized in differential condition
  • Isodose alludes to the retention of an equivalent portion of the radiation
  • Isophote is a steady illuminance that is gotten.

Magnetism: Contour lines are incredibly useful in contemplating the attractive field of the earth. It helps in the investigation of the attractive plunge and attractive declination.

The isogon or isogonic contour lines speak to the line of steady attractive declination. The line which joins the purposes of zero attractive declination is called as Agonic line. A form line that gets every one of the focuses together with a consistent attractive power is called an isodynamic line. An isoclinic line gets all locales together with an equivalent attractive plunge while an aclinic line gets all areas together with zero attractive plunges. An isoporic line gets every one of the focuses together with the steady yearly variety of attractive declination.

 Geographical studies: The most well-known utilization of the form lines is in the portrayal of height and profundity of a region. These form lines are every now and again utilized in the topographic maps to show height and bathymetric graphs to show profundities. These topographic or bathymetric maps can be utilized to speak to a littler region or can be utilized to speak to bigger regions like a landmass. The space between sequential contour lines called the interim alludes to the distinction in the rise or profundity between the two. The interim is normally noted in the guide key.

When speaking of a territory with contour lines, the near lines show a slope or high angle, while the distant contours speak of a shallow slope. The closed circles inside indicate strength, while the outside shows a downward slope. The deepest circle on a contour map shows where the area might have depressions or craters, at which point lines called "hachures" are shown from within the circle.

Geography and Oceanography: Contour maps are utilized in the investigation of auxiliary topography and physical and financial highlights of the world's surface. Isopach is contour lines that get focuses together with an equivalent thickness of geologic units.

Additionally in Oceanography regions of equivalent water thickness is spoken to by contour lines called isopycnals and isohalines get territories together with equivalent sea saltiness. Isobathytherms gets focuses together with equivalent temperatures in a sea.

Electrostatics: Electrostatics in space is frequently portrayed with the isopotential map. The bend getting the focuses together with consistent electric potential is called as he isopotential or the equipotential line.

Features of Contour Lines in Contour Maps

Contour maps not just permit a portrayal of the rise on a rise guide or profundities of the territories, the highlights of the form lines that are attracted the guide yet in addition permit a more noteworthy comprehension of the landscapes that are being mapped. Here are a few highlights that are as often as possible utilized in mapping:

  • Line Type - It can be dabbed, strong or ran. A speckled or ran line is oftentimes utilized when there is information in the base guide that could be secured by a strong line.
  • Lineweight - It alludes to how strong or thick the form line has been drawn. contour maps are frequently drawn with lines of changing thickness to show diverse numerical qualities or varieties in territory heights.
  • Line color - This type of the Contour line shading is fluctuated in a guide to recognize it from the base guide. Line shading is likewise used to speak to an alternate arrangement of numerical qualities also.
  • Numerical stamping- It is significant on all contour maps. It tends to be done close by the contour line or it very well may be appeared in a guide key. The numerical worth aides in distinguishing the bearing of the slope.

Topographic Map Tools

The conventional paper maps are by all account not the only method for form mapping. Despite the fact that they are significant however with the progression in innovation, maps are currently in advanced structure. There is various instruments, versatile applications, and programming accessible to assist you with it. These maps will be increasingly precise, extremely brisk to make, effectively modifiable and you can send these to your partners and companions as well! A portion of these apparatuses are referenced beneath with a short portrayal:

Google Maps

Google Maps is a lifesaver around the world. It is used to explore the city, and for a few other different purposes. It has several “views” accessible, for example: traffic, satellite, topography, road, etc. Activating the “Landscape” layer from the options menu will give you the topographical view (with contour lines).

Gaia, ArcGIS, Backcountry Navigator (Versatile Apps)

Like numerous other portable applications accessible for both Android and IOS, iPhone clients can utilize Gaia GPS. It furnishes clients with topographic maps alongside different kinds. These applications can be free or paid relying upon the usefulness advertised. In spite of the fact that route applications are not only used to get topographic data yet, they are very useful. ArcGIS applications and different applications by ESRI are can be utilized only for mapping purposes.


You can't play out every one of the capacities on mobiles, and this is the place work areas and PCs act the hero. There are both online stages and installable adaptations of programming to assist you with finishing your next undertaking. Captopo is a program based guide apparatus that enables you to print out custom topo maps. It additionally enables you to send/move them to your GPS gadgets or cell phones. It additionally permits customization or maps and imparting to different clients.


It can be viewed as an assistance or guide supplier. It is to some degree like Caltopo (referenced above) however centers around Canada and the US (we truly trust they will cover different nations as well!). They give itemized custom maps, including topo maps, satellite pictures and open land chasing maps of any district in the US. Very expert quality maps, which you can see online for nothing or have dispatched as top-notch prints for a little expense.

You can enroll for live ArcGIS Training by Edunbox with 24/7 support and lifetime access.

The article is a collaboration for TwinGEO, by our friend Amit Sancheti, who works as an SEO executive in Edunbox  and there he handles all the works related to SEO and content writing.

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Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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