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A Map is a representation of a part or whole of the earth’s surface on a two dimensional surface. A map is a good guide, but it requires some skill on the part of the map user to follow the direction and information given by it. Map reading in actually, denotes the formation of the visual picture of the ground depicted on a map. It requires good deal of practice. The best way to familiarise once self with the topography of a region is to compare the topographic map of the region with the actually area depicted through a field visit called ground truthing. It is not possible for anyone in their life time to collect direct information about the whole earth but the student can get a large amount of information about the earth from the topographic sheet or from these maps.
Topographical map commonly known as topo sheets, are special maps prepared by survey department that show a three-dimensional surface on a two-dimensional sheet of paper. In India the topographic sheets for the whole country are prepared by an organisation called as the ‘Survey of India’ (SOI). The sheets are prepared largely on a scale of 1:50,000. Maps on scale of 1: 25,000, 1: 250,000 and 1:1,000,000 or million sheets are also prepared.
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