Topography is the representation of the shape and configuration of the land on a map using different artistic elements to display certain aspects of the earth. Geology is the study of the actual contents, actions and behavior of the earth and planet. The two areas of science in some ways interact, but geology has a much wider range than topography.
Explorers and scientists have been contributing to the field of topography for centuries and the craft of mapping has become much more specific over the years. Elements of topographic maps that assist users include relief shading, hypsometric tints and contour lines. Geology helps humans understand the way the world works and reacts to natural occurrences, like earthquakes, volcanoes and tornadoes.
Topography most often involves maps, but the tools used to create maps include a wide range of physical and electronic devices and gadgets. Drawing the maps can still be done by hand, but computers assist greatly in providing accurate information. Satellites also help topographers gather information, like elevations, bodies of water and mountain details. Geologists use hammers and drills to excavate land, while devices in labs, such as a microscope, help analyze the gathered materials.
Outdoorsmen often use topographic maps when traveling in an area. Hunters use topographic maps to avoid getting lost in the woods, while hikers use them to trace paths and avoid steep inclines while climbing mountains. Scientists use topographic maps to trace the movement of earth in an area and keep an eye on the boundaries of bodies of water. Geology is used by a wide range of people. Meteorologists use geology to track weather patterns, while power companies use it to find new sources of energy, like coal and other fossil fuels.
In the Franklin Mountains of Texas, topographic maps do not show any bodies of water, but springs flow from within the mountain at various times throughout the year. Topography is also common practice for NASA, as it is largely responsible for charting the ocean surface’s topographic qualities. Geology has been crucial in analyzing and preventing maximum damage from recent natural disasters like offshore earthquakes, tidal waves and tornadoes.