Site Engineering for Landscape Architects: Contours, Forms, Interpolation, and Slope


A clear understanding of what a contour represents is fundamental to the grading design process. Technically defined, a contour is an imaginary line that connects all points of equal elevation above or below a fixed reference plane or datum. This datum may be mean sea level or a locally established benchmark. A contour line is the graphic representation of a contour on a plan or map. In order to make informed design decisions as well as to execute construction drawings accurately, landscape architects require topographic data for all site development projects. This course discusses the concept of contour lines and delineates a baseline of common contour signatures. The course expands on these concepts with explanations of interpolation and slope formulas and examples of their applications. This course also introduces the basic mathematical equations associated with plotting and manipulating contour lines.
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