contour

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contour

or

contour line,

line on a topographic map connecting points of equal elevation above or below mean sea level. It is thus a kind of isopleth, or line of equal quantity. Contour lines are drawn on maps with a uniform interval of vertical distance separating them (usually 10, 20, 50, or 100 ft on American maps) and thus outline the landform configuration, or relief. They may be visualized as representing shorelines if sea level were raised in small increments. Thus the tops of hills, which would appear as separate islands, are shown as a series of closed circular contours; valleys, which would appear as elongate bays, are shown as contour lines converging toward a point at the head of the valley. Since on steep slopes there is little horizontal distance between points greatly different in height, contour lines indicating such terrain are close together; contour lines of gentle slopes are more widely separated. Maps employing contour lines are called contour, or relief, maps although they are popularly called topographic maps (see topographytopography
, description or representation of the features and configuration of land surfaces. Topographic maps use symbols and coloring, with particular attention given to the shape and elevations of terrain.
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) in the United States. Certain conventions are employed on these maps to assist the user. Contours indicating land elevations are printed in brown with every fifth contour drawn thicker and labeled with its elevation; those indicating depths of bodies of water are printed in blue. Hachure lines, pointing downslope, are attached to contour lines in order to emphasize a depression with a steep gradient. In the past, contour maps were made from ground surveys. Today they are constructed from stereographic aerial photographs and orbiting satellites, which use radar to measure elevations for land or ocean relief maps. In an analogous way, contour lines are also commonly used to map properties other than elevation; meteorologists, for example, employ contour lines, or isobars, to delineate areas of equal barometric pressures.

CONTOUR

(kon -toor) A NASA mission to be launched in July 2002 to study at least three comets: Encke (2003), Schwassmann–Wachmann-3 (2006), and d'Arrest (2008). The mission is designed so that it could be retargeted to intercept other unforseen comets.

contour

[′kän‚tu̇r]
(mapping)
(physics)
A curve drawn up on a two-dimensional diagram through points which satisfy f (x,y) = c, where c is a constant and f is some function, such as the field strength for a transmitter.
(science and technology)
The periphery of a figure or body.

contour

contour
i. Lines on a map joining places of equal height above a selected datum level. They are drawn at a suitable interval, and the greater the bunching, the steeper the slope. The highest point is shown as a spot height.
ii. A line on a radarscope that shows the areas of equal radar echo intensity.
References in classic literature ?
Soon I had traced on the paper a broad and prominent forehead and a square lower outline of visage: that contour gave me pleasure; my fingers proceeded actively to fill it with features.
A hardly perceptible blue irregular outline, indicating the bold contour of the lofty heights of Nukuheva.
It was, as seen from this height, of an oval contour, with a breadth of about thirty miles and a width of twenty.
Make its contour float in a winter's mist which clings to its numerous chimneys; drown it in profound night and watch the odd play of lights and shadows in that sombre labyrinth of edifices; cast upon it a ray of light which shall vaguely outline it and cause to emerge from the fog the great heads of the towers; or take that black silhouette again, enliven with shadow the thousand acute angles of the spires and gables, and make it start out more toothed than a shark's jaw against a copper-colored western sky,--and then compare.
Milvain was a much slighter figure; but the same doubt as to the precise lines of her contour filled Ralph, as he regarded them, with dismal foreboding.
Jav was shrieking still, and clawing at the royal couch that had already commenced to slide toward the centre of the room, where both Thuvia and Carthoris suddenly noted a small orifice which grew in diameter as the floor assumed more closely a funnel-like contour.
In contour and markings it was not unlike the noblest of the Bengals of our own world, but as its dimensions were exaggerated to colossal proportions so too were its colorings exaggerated.
It was late in the afternoon by the time he came close enough to distinguish objects on land, or to make out the contour of the shore line.
A broad shaft of morning light poured through the open doorway in the ceiling of the room which was about thirty feet square, or roughly square, being irregular in shape, one side curving outward, another being indented by what might have been the corner of another building jutting into it, another alcoved by three sides of an octagon, while the fourth was serpentine in contour.
Her eyes, I suppose, were really fine, and certainly the shape of the little brown face was charming, so far as mere contour can charm.
Deane, and you may see grocers or day-laborers like him; but the keenness of his brown eyes was less common than his contour.
Next, we move onto the partial blind contours, that is where the students can "peek" at their drawings to keep the proportions more on point.