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    Info Cartographic Terminology

    It's come up a couple of times that we should have a thread where we can post terms related to maps and cartography. I recently ran across a new word, so it seemed like a good time to make one. A thread, that is. So, without further ado, my new word is:

    Hachure: Short lines attached to, and perpendicular with a contour line usually used to indicate a depression contour.

    Hachures were used extensively by Pete Fenlon in his maps of Middle Earth, published for the Middle Earth RolePlaying Game by ICE.

    Neatline: Line separating the body of a map from the map margin. On a standard quadrangle map, the neatlines are the meridians and parallels delimiting the quadrangle.

    Rhumb Line: A line on the surface of the earth that crosses all meridians at a constant angle.

    Rhumb Lines are often referred to as "navigation lines."

    Graticule: A network of parallels and meridians on a map or chart.

    (From http:\\ )
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  2. #2
    Community Leader NeonKnight's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
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    Well, from my Map & COmpass courses I took many Year's ago:

    TRUE NORTH The definitive North Pole, the point at which the globe rotates. True north is a navigational term referring to the direction of the North Pole relative to the navigator's position. Its concept was first discovered and noted by the Chinese polymath Shen Kuo in the 11th century.

    Grid North Grid north is a navigational term referring to the direction northwards along the grid lines of a map projection. It is contrasted with true north (the direction of the North Pole) and magnetic north (the direction of the Magnetic North Pole). Many topographic maps, including those of the United States Geological Survey and the Ordnance Survey, indicate the difference between grid north, true north, and magnetic north.

    MAgnetic North The magnetic declination (also known as grid magnetic angle in military circles) at any point on the Earth is the angle between the local magnetic field -- the direction the north end of a compass points -- and true north. The declination is positive when the magnetic north is east of true north. The term magnetic variation is equivalent, and is more often used in aeronautical and other forms of navigation. Isogonic lines are where the declination has the same value, and the lines where the declination is zero are called agonic lines
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    Community Leader RPMiller's Avatar
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    In the meantime, I went ahead and made the thread sticky so that others would be able to find easy enough.
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  5. #5


    Not forgetting the good old 'Cartouche' - decorative panel: a decorative panel in the form of a frame or unrolled scroll, sometimes containing writing, forming an artistic or architectural feature

    This is a great thread. Brilliant idea, Mid

  6. #6
    Guild Novice
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    Feb 2008


    If anyone's interested, I have the Army's Map Reading Field Manual (FM 21-26) in a 10 mb zip well as another one, Topographic Symbols (FM 21-31)...I guess I could upload it somewhere here, or place a link to it on one of my wesbites. Let me know what folks think best.
    Last edited by buddha6; 02-18-2008 at 08:00 PM.

  7. #7


    Thanks for offer buddha - I found the topographical symbols on line, but not the map reading field manual. (I'm interested in this as I like to go hiking rather than from a cartographic point of view!)

    Topographical Symbols here

  8. #8
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    I didn't realize the folks had posted those...thanks for the pointer. The map reading FM is available there as's FM 3-25-26 IAW with the new numbering protocol. A portion of our property, here in VA bounds the Appalachian Trail and we see lots of hikers when we're out there...good luck on the hikes.

  9. #9
    Guild Apprentice kortleggur's Avatar
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    Jan 2015


    The Magnetic North and The True North move.. !!

    Here is the movement of magnetic north in the past 200 years

    And the True North Polar motion Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	70742 can be seen here, but the True North not only moves but it wanders around, currently moving away from Europe and into Alaska or Siberia In my small country of Iceland, even if the tectonics are moving the country northward, then the true north wander is a bit faster taking the arctic Circle latitude with it and moving it away from the island. Well at least according to an old geography courses.
    Last edited by kortleggur; 02-10-2015 at 05:37 AM.

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