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In addition to showing general locations and political boundaries, topographic maps depict the geology and special features of an area. This type of map offers many advantages. For instance, most backpackers use topographic maps to navigate through wilderness, planning their routes with obstacles and landmarks in mind. If they should get lost, they can find their bearings again by aligning their map and compass to a prominent feature observed nearby. A key on each map indicates the distance scales and special symbols (for features such as railroads, schools, airstrips and water towers) used to create it. Generally, the green on a topographic map indicates forest or vegetation, while the white areas indicate areas that are bare of growth. Series of brown lines indicate mountains and hills, showing elevation and relative steepness. Each line represents a specific unit of elevation; where the lines are very close together, the terrain is quite steep. Relief Map
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