Understanding Contour Lines

Author: Stockpile Reports

Understanding Contour Lines | Blog | Stockpile Reports

Our customers at Stockpile Reports receive separate reports for every stockpile that is measured.

A Stockpile Report contains both categorical and calculated data, with tonnage and volume (cubic yards). It includes an image of the stockpile and a topographical map, which is rendered using contour lines.

What is a contour line?

Contour lines are lines drawn on a map connecting points of equal elevation. Contour lines show both the elevation and illustrate the shape of the terrain.

A contour map is a map illustrated using contour lines, for example a topographic map

In order to keep things simple, topographic maps show contour lines for only certain elevations. These lines are evenly spaced apart. This spacing is called the contour interval.

To make topographic maps easier to read, every fifth contour line is an index contour. The index contour lines are the only ones labeled. The index contours are a darker or wider  line in comparison to the regular contour lines. Elevations are marked on the index contour lines only. To determine the gradient of elevations, observe the amount of space in between the lines. If the contours are placed close together, you’re looking at a steep slope. If the contours have wide spaces in between — or aren’t there at all — then the terrain is relatively flat.

People use topographic maps for engineering, conservation, environmental management, public works design, urban planning and outdoor activities like fishing, hiking or camping. Contour lines allows one to see a three-dimensional landscape on a two-dimensional surface, showing the land’s contours, elevations, mountains, valleys, bodies of water, vegetation and more.

When viewing a Stockpile Report, (click to view a large sample report) it is easy to see how steep the stockpile is, view the edges, and the height. This is useful information to collect over time via multiple reports to view how a stockpile shrinks or grows. It also enables Remote Site Management and Site Accountability. With each report, remote managers can visually inspect the quality and state of each pile to ensure proper site management.

Stockpile Reports’ benefits add up to better decision-making, faster inventory turns and lower operating expenses. Contact Stockpile Reports to find out how our system of measurement can help your business.

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