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(n) physical features of an area; mapping the physical features of an area. Origin: Gk topos, place + graphein, to represent => 'to represent the features of a place' Open any atlas and you will find many topographic maps in it. By using colour codes, dots, dashes or solid lines-the meaning of which is explained in the margin of the map-a topographic map details the elevations or depressions in the area under study, and also the water bodies, forest cover, built-up area, roads, streets, even individual buildings (depending on the scale) and other natural or man-made features of the land.