Spot Height


Spot Heights are points on a map giving specific heights outside of the standard contour lines.

Spot Heights in the Pentland Hills as shown on a 1:25,000 map (C) Ordnance Survey (2018)

Spot Heights in the Pentland Hills – circled in red – as shown on a 1:25,000 map (C) Ordnance Survey (2018)

What does this mean?

Height on a map is often shown by contours – lines that depict a constant height above sea level.

These are often in set intervals of 5m (e.g. 200m, 205m, 210m, 215m….) or 10m (200m, 210m, 220m, 230m).

Sometimes the height of additional points are marked up as way of giving additional information. These are known as Spot Heights.

Often these are summits – such as that at The Mount (538m), but can also be at other points of interest such as the col at 447m circled in the image also.

Uses for Spot Heights

Spot heights are useful for two main reasons:

  • To quickly find the difference in height between two points (e.g. the coll and the summit in this image)
  • To see where the highest point of a summit actually sits – especially important when looking at large plateaus such as the Cairngorms, Lammermuir Hills, or Cheviot Hills


Spot the Spot Height

The image above has two additional spot heights on it, can you find them both – why not leave your answers in the Comments box!


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