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Land Nav Task 3 - Identify Terrain Features on a Map

Standards: Identified the five major and three minor features on the map.

Conditions: Given a standard 1:50,000-scale military map.

Standards: Identified the five major and three minor features on the map.

Performance Steps                                           

1.   Identify terrain features in table C-3 in the same manner on all maps, regardless of the contour interval, but you must realize that a hill in the Rocky Mountains will be much bigger than the one in south Florida. You must be able to recognize all the terrain features to locate a point on the ground or to navigate from one point to another (figures C-3 through C-10).

Note. During instruction, demonstrate to the soldiers how they can learn terrain features using the fist and hand (figures C-1 and C-2). They can be used to show what each terrain feature would look like on the ground.

Figure C-1. Using fist to explain terrain features


Figure C-2. Using hand to explain terrain features



Table C-3. Major and minor terrain features




Hill, Figure C-5, Major

A point or small area of high ground from which the ground slopes down in all directions.

Contour lines forming concentric circles.

Ridge, Figure C-6 Major

A line of high ground with height variations along its crest.

Contour lines forming a U or V; closed end points away from high ground.

Valley, Figure C-7, Major

Reasonably level ground bordered on the sides by higher ground. Generally has maneuver room. Contains a stream.

Contour lines form U. Lines tend to parallel stream before crossing. Contour line crossing a stream always points upstream.

Saddle, Figure C-8, Major

A dip/low point along a ridge crest; either lower ground between two hill tops or a break in the level crest.

A saddle is normally represented as an hourglass.

Depression, Figure C-9, Major

Low point or hole in the ground with higher ground on all sides.

Closed contour lines that have tick marks pointing toward low ground.

Draw, Figure C-10, Minor

Like a valley but normally has less developed stream course. No level ground and little or no maneuver room. Ground slopes upward on the sides and toward the head of the draw.

Contour lines are V-shaped with the point of the V toward the head of the draw (high ground).


Table C-3. Major and minor terrain features




Spur, Figure C-3, Minor

Short, continuously sloping line of higher ground jutting out the side of a ridge. Often Table C-3. Major and minor terrain features (continued)formed by parallel streams cutting draws down a ridge.

Contour lines depict a spur with the U or V pointing away from higher ground.

Cliff, Figure C-4, Minor

A vertical or near vertical slope.

Contour lines are close together or a ticked or "carrying" contour line (ticks point to lower ground).


Figure C-3. Spur


Figure C-4. Cliff


Figure C-5. Hill


Figure C-6. Ridge


Figure C-7. Valley


Figure C-8. Saddle


Figure C-9. Depression


Figure C-10. Draw


Evaluation Preparation: 

Setup: Use a 1:50,000-scale military map; circle one example of each major terrain feature and one example of each minor terrain feature. Randomly number the circled terrain features 1 through 8. Provide each soldier being tested with duplicate sets of the map, paper, and two pencils.

Brief Soldier: Tell the soldier to number the paper 1 through 8. Tell the soldier to write down the terrain feature that corresponds to each circled area on the map.

Performance Measures



1.   Identified the following.



a. Hilltop.



b. Ridge.



c. Valley.



d. Saddle.



e.     Depression.



f. Draw.



g. Spur.



h. Cliff.



Evaluation Guidance:  Score the soldier GO if all performance measures are passed. Score the soldier NO GO if any performance measure is failed. If the soldier scores NO GO, show the soldier what was done wrong and how to do it correctly.






FM 3-25.26