An example of a topological map of Uganda. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Transport: Topological Maps

  • A topological map is one where straight lines are drawn to replace winding routes of transport networks.
  • These straight lines may replace roads, rails or waterways but they are always drawn to link nodes.
  • Topological maps have certain advantages and disadvantages as they are cartographic (geographic) tools of data presentation.
  • In geography and geology, a topological map is a type of diagram that has been simplified so that only vital information remains and unnecessary detail has been removed.
  • These maps lack scale, and distance and direction.
  • They are subject to change and variation, but the relationship between points is maintained.
  • The name topological map is derived from topology, the branch of mathematics that studies the properties of objects that do not change as the object is deformed.
  • It retains useful information despite bearing little resemblance to the actual layout of the underground system.
Easy to constuctstraight lines ignore physical factors affecting routes
Easy to processwith higher network densities, the lines criss-cross each other and are difficult to count
Quick visual impression of connectivitysome nodes no longer become visible
Easy to analyse

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page