Orienteering 101: Study Notes for 10/28/2005

In reading topographical maps, there are 5 major and 4 minor landforms to be identified. When reading maps it is important to know how to identify these landforms. If you are standing in a field with multiple hills, valleys, and saddles around you it will become neccessary to recognize these items on the map in order to determine your current location. I’ve included a short description of each landform type as well as a pictures from the US Army training guide on mapreading.

  • Major:
    • Hill: An area of high ground where the ground slopes down from the top in all directions. [image]
    • Saddle: A dip or low point between to areas of higher ground. [image]
    • Valley: A stretched out groove in the land that begins with high ground on 3 sides and normally has water running though it. [image]
    • Ridge: A sloping line of high ground with steep sides and a long line of ascension or descention running the top of the ridge. [image]
    • Depression: A low point in the ground like a sinkhole or an emptied lake bed. [image]
  • Minor:
    • Draw: A draw is sometimes considered to be the initial formation of a valley where the ground would slope up in three directions and down in the other. [image]
    • Spur: A spur is a short, continuous sloping line of high ground, normally jutting out from the side of a ridge. [image]
    • Cliff: A cliff is a vertical or near vertical slope that is an abrupt change of the land formation very steep slope. [image]
    • Cut and fill: Man-made features resulting from the cutting through of high areas and the filling in of low areas to form a level bed for a road or railroad track. [image]
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