A topo map, short for topographical map, can be intimidating upon first glance. These maps contain a wealth of information about the land features of a particular area. Thanks to contour lines, which show elevation, a flat topo map gives you a "three-dimensional" look of the area. With a little planning, a hiker can plan a route to his destination and use a compass to navigate to the destination. Become familiar with the topo map and compass before setting out on a hike in unfamiliar terrain.