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					Topography (from Greek τόπος topos, "place", and γράφω graphō, "write") is a field of
planetary science comprising the study of surface shape and features of the Earth and other
observable astronomical objects including planets, moons, and asteroids. It is also the description
of such surface shapes and features (especially their depiction in maps).

The topography of an area can also mean the surface shape and features themselves.

In a broader sense, topography is concerned with local detail in general, including not only relief
but also vegetative and artificial features, and even local history and culture. This meaning is less
common in America, where topographic maps with elevation contours have made "topography"
synonymous with relief. The older sense of topography as the study of place still has currency in

For the purposes of this article, topography specifically involves the recording of relief or terrain,
the three-dimensional quality of the surface, and the identification of specific landforms. This is
also known as geomorphometry. In modern usage, this involves generation of elevation data in
electronic form. It is often considered to include the graphic representation of the landform on a
map by a variety of techniques, including contour lines, hypsometric tints, and relief shading.

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