EAS 100-51: Introduction To Earth Science

Preparation for Lab Exam III on Maps & Topographic Map Interpretation

    Your next lab exam will cover exclusively map reading and topographic map interpretation. To do well on this exam, you will need to complete ALL of the assigned laboratory map reading exercises, and get a complete set of all map handouts. Each set of map reading exercises is designed to cover and practice a different aspect of reading maps, including scales, map types, longitude and latitude, township and range coordinates, distance and area measurements, contour line and elevation interpretation, topographic profiles, etc.

    Preparation for this exam will take place largely during the regularly scheduled lab sessions. You are responsible for learning ALL of the lab lecture material, including map measurements, vocabulary, and terminology, so you must make every attempt to avoid being absent during these labs. There will not be sufficient time for you to make up any missed labs, except to complete any specific map-reading exercises on your own time at the Oakton (Skokie campus) library, where I will have copies of the three assigned topographic maps available for use and practice. Your other lab handouts, booklets, and exercises can be completed and studied on your own time at home. Absolutely NO topographic maps are allowed to leave the lab. This exam is on topographic map interpretation, not topographic map memorization. (You cannot possibly memorize an entire topographic map, nor would it make any sense, any more than it would be to memorize the contents of a telephone book if you are being tested on how to look up numbers in a telephone book. )

The lab exam will require you to know at least the following:

1.    Multiple choice questions covering map definitions, map scales, map area, map distance, contour lines, etc., and any other material covered in lab lectures.

2.    Find and interpret data from one of topographic quadrangle maps that you were assigned in lab, including finding township and range coordinates, calculating map distances between two points, interpreting contour lines, map scales, longitude-latitude, etc.

3.    Draw a topographic profile from diagram of a map.

4.    Interpret contour lines from a series of small map diagrams.

5.    Convert one type of map scale to another, and vice versa, using mathemetical conversion, if necessary.

6.    Calculate the relative areas between two maps of different R.F. scales.

Map reading is a skill acquired through much practice and learning from your mistakes. It is also one of the most challenging subjects for an earth science teacher to teach to students; therefore, please do not hesitate to ask me lots of questions. If you are "lost" regarding any areas of this laboratory topic, please make arrangements to see me before class or after class.