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University of Hawaii

Honolulu Community College

GG101 Lab

Lesson 1 Notes

Topographic Movies

Here are some movies that show the relationship between contours and topography.

Most of them are more than 1 MB, so if you have a dialup or otherslow link it will take awhile to download them. You must have Quicktime installed in order to view them. You can download Quicktime free for Windows or Mac from Apple at

These movies are all © Copyright 2001 by Stephen J Reynolds and Julia K. Johnson, adapted from the web site at

All are available as Quicktime movies or as mp4 movies. Quicktime files are larger and take longer to download. The latest version of Quicktime will play mp4 movies, so it is recommended that they be viewed if possible.

This animation slowly adds shading to give a 3D perspective to the contours. (6.9 MB)


Henry Mountains Peak and Valleys

Quicktime (6.9 MB)

mp4 (0.3 MB)

These two animations begin with a contour map, then tilt and rotate it in 3D perspective, allowing the relationship between the shape of the contours and the topography to be compared

Mt. Shasta, CA

Quicktime (4.8 MB)

mp4 (1.1 MB)

Utah Cliffs

Quicktime (4.5 MB)

mp4 (1.1 MB)

These two animation movies show the water level rising to flood the topography, illustrating the concept of contour lines as 'intersection of the landscape with a level plane', in this case creating shorelines with the rising water.

The interactive movies are large size, but may not play on all computers, although they should with the latest version of Quicktime.

To change the water level in the interactive animation, move the hand cursor up and down with the right mouse button held down. Or click on the red arrow to raise the water stepwise, one-half contour interval at a time.

Loy Butte

Interactive Quicktime (1.5 MB)

Quicktime (2.5 MB)

mp4 (0.5 MB)

Polish Junction, AZ

Interactive Quicktime (2.1 MB)

Quicktime (1.5 MB)

mp4 (0.58 MB)

This double pane animation shows a map view on the left and a perspective 3D view on the right as the water rises to create new shorelines along the contours.

Mt. Hiller

Interactive Quicktime (1.3 MB)

Quicktime (1.1 MB)

mp4 (0.47 MB)