The topography or topography is that branch of cartography and land surveying, which deals with the detailed survey, representation and description of the land surface and firmly connected to their natural and artificial objects ( situation). Most important are the terrain (relief), the waters, land use and vegetation, and buildings.

The name comes from Greek τόπος tópos ( place ) and γράφειν grafeïn ( draw, describe) and literally means Topography, mutatis mutandis terrain sketch or plan of the grounds - see also terrain and relief.

Topographic terrain or recordings be made by topographers and / or surveyors. The measurements are made ​​terrestrial ( with total station, GNSS or earlier with the measuring table, compass and gradient meter) or with the help of aerial photographs ( rare satellite images ). Terrestrial is the terrain pointwise calibrated, supported by structural lines. The aerial photogrammetry primarily measures contour lines of the terrain.

The results are shown in topographic maps ( Maps) or a cartographic relief, or, according to new methodology as a digital landscape model. In contrast, the pure representation of the terrain height is referred to as a digital elevation model, its addition to buildings, pipes etc. as land information system (LIS ).

In Geography we use the term topography often also in the sense of representation of orography, so the relief with its height and the structures thereon waters.

See also:

  • Mapping ( cartography )
  • Terrestrial photogrammetry
  • Topography