Mapmakers use several methods to depict relief of the terrain.
a. Layer Tinting. Layer tinting is a method of showing relief by color. A different color is used for each band of elevation. Each shade of color, or band, represents a definite elevation range. A legend is printed on the map margin to indicate the elevation range represented by each color. However, this method does not allow the map user to determine the exact elevation of a specific point—only the range.
b. Form Lines. Form lines are not measured from any datum plane. Form lines have no standard elevation and give only a general idea of relief. Form lines are represented on a map as dashed lines and are never labeled with representative elevations.
c. Shaded Relief. Relief shading indicates relief by a shadow effect achieved by tone and color that results in the darkening of one side of terrain features, such as hills and ridges. The darker the shading, the steeper the slope. Shaded relief is sometimes used in conjunction with contour lines to emphasize these features.
d. Hachures. Hachures are short, broken lines used to show relief. Hachures are sometimes used with contour lines. They do not represent exact elevations, but are mainly used to show large, rocky outcrop areas. Hachures are used extensively on small-scale maps to show mountain ranges, plateaus, and mountain peaks.
e. Contour Lines. Contour lines are the most common method of showing relief and elevation on a standard topographic map. A contour line represents an imaginary line on the ground, above or below sea level. All points on the contour line are at the same elevation. The elevation represented by contour lines is the vertical distance above or below sea level. The three types of contour lines (Figure 10-1) used on a standard topographic map are as follows: