Topographic Map Basics

OS Map Basics

How to Read a Topo Map
(REI 3:47)

How to Read Hiking Maps

from the Bruce Trail Conservancy (PDF)

How to Read a 6-figure Grid Reference
(Darron Gedge 6:07)

OS Map Skills - Activities & Links (GeographyPods)

Choosing the right OS Map (1:15)

4-figure Grid References (1:55)

OS Map Symbols (0:55)

6-figure Grid References (2:06)

Contour Lines (1:14)

Understanding magnetic North (1:17)

Topo Maps Online: Canada, UK, USA

Canada: example Toporama maps + gEarth links

Note: Primary Links are to Toporama; gEarth is for Google Earth Web; KML is for downloading and opening in Google Earth Desktop

Yoho National Park, BC

mountains, wilderness, national park, tree-line, upper course mountain streams, braided river, glaciers, glacial lakes, railroad, tourism, recreationgEarth | KML

Medicine Hat, AB

meandering river, flooding, river bluffs, urban, city, suburban sprawl, rural, prairie, agriculture, irrigationgEarth

Riding Mountain National Park, MB

national park, wetlands, forests, agriculture, rural, resource conflicts, island biogeography, wildlife, recreationgEarth

Timmins, ON

northern town, urban, rural, gold mining, open cast, containment ponds, forests, Canadian ShieldgEarth

Vineland, ON

agricultural town, rural-urban fringe, Great Lakes Lowlands, orchards, vineyards, Niagara Escarpment, highwaysgEarth

Toronto, ON

major city, metropolitan area, urban, provincial capital, grid pattern, neighbourhoods, CMA, built-up area, waterfront, transportation, CBDgEarth

Mont Saint Hilaire, QC

St. Lawrence Lowlands, Monteregian Hills, rural-urban fringe, agriculture, volcanic, seigneurial system, historic land use patterns – gEarth

Oxford Brook, NB

forestry, clearcut logging, forest regeneration, rural – gEarth

Cavendish, PEI

tourism, coastal, rural, lowlands, agriculture, beach, sand spit, national park – gEarth

Margaree Valley, Cape Breton, NS

Appalachian Highlands, rural, tablelands, mature river, young river, port – gEarth

Diavik Diamond Mine, NT

Arctic tundra, northern mine, kimberlite, remote, wilderness – gEarth

Iqaluit, NU

northern community, Arctic, remote, territorial capital - gEarth

Kluane National Park, YT

Arctic, wilderness, alpine glaciers, braided river, mountains, remote – gEarth