Wikipedia:WikiProject Maps/Conventions/Topographic maps

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This page provide conventions to produce topographic maps.
Topographic maps, displaying an area's relief, de facto explain many other things such as human occupation, cultivated areas, kingdoms borders, exchanges ways, etc.

If you create a topographic map, note that these colorimetric values are indicatives. If need, you can adapt colours to your needs : if more altitude layers are need, create new ones ; if less are need, select just some allowing the best contrast.
Be also conscient that a topographic maps is first a background, which then will be complete by other layers. Most of time, these upper layers are transport ways (see exchanges maps), Kingdoms' areas or troops and moves (see areas maps & historical maps), or even officials borders from location maps.

  1. Wikipedia:Graphic Lab/Resources/QGis lesson 1: Create a topographic background
  2. See also: Topographic tutorials are partially translate into english there : User:JaneVannin/translations.


Colorimetric conventions for Topographic maps.
Subject Colorimetry
Positive altitudes
R:245 V:244 B:242
R:224 V:222 B:216
R:202 V:195 B:184
R:186 V:174 B:154
R:172 V:154 B:124
R:170 V:135 B:83
R:185 V:152 B:90
R:195 V:167 B:107
R:202 V:185 B:130
R:211 V:202 B:157
R:222 V:214 B:163
R:232 V:225 B:182
R:239 V:235 B:192
R:225 V:228 B:181
R:209 V:215 B:171
R:189 V:204 B:150
R:168 V:198 B:143
R:148 V:191 B:139
R:172 V:208 B:165
R:167 V:223 B:210
Negative altitudes
R:216 V:242 B:254
R:198 V:236 B:255
R:185 V:227 B:255
R:172 V:219 B:251
R:161 V:210 B:247
R:150 V:201 B:240
R:141 V:193 B:234
R:132 V:185 B:227
R:121 V:178 B:222
R:113 V:171 B:216
Rivers, coasts, hydronymes
R:9 V:120 B:171
Subject toponymes
R:0 V:0 B:0
Border, countrie and province name
R:100 V:100 B:100
Roads, Free roads, railroads, etc.: see exchanges conventions there

Naming (upload):

  • File:{Subject name in English} topographic map.svg
  • File:{Subject name in English} relief location map.svg
    ("relief location" for equirectangular projection allowing {location})
SVG template: Image:Maps_template-en.svg provide further label conventions.

History and current work[edit]


This convention take its source in the GMT tool and User:Captain_Blood work. User:Sting then push the creation of topographic map to a new level, mixing SVG and bitmap technology, his work is since almost each time granted feature picture statut. Sting also produced a full set of topographic map tutorials (:fr:here), allowing other users such Sémhur, Historicair, Bourrichon, NNW, and then a dozen of other to follow this style, leading to the common acceptation as being the topographic convention on wikipedia.

Discussions have long for 2-3 years, with several update, to lead to this current web-friendly, screen friendly, and wiki-specific topo style.

Leading place and future

Currently, the French team is leading this initiative on its Map Lab, according to Sting's French tutorials, and working according to specific requests. But some German, Norwegian and English speakers are also following them. Some part of the tutorial have been translated into English, and help is welcome to complete the translation.

In the future, a good way to follow should be to start a methodical project, based on the German Location map initiative, working continent after continent and country after country, to provide a complete set of SVG topographic maps, respecting these topographic conventions.

To learn

Several tutorials are now available, on wiki-en, wiki-fr, wiki-ru. Currently active topo-mapmakers which may help your to learn are:

Gallery of examples[edit]