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Supplements of Geografia Fisica e Dinamica Quaternaria
Volume IV - 2001


Illustrative Notes of the Geomorphological Map of Po Plain


Altimetria – Altimetry

Pages 21-32


As a physiographic region} one of the main features of the Po Plain is its obvious altimetric contrast with respect to the- two mountain chains which flank it on both sides. The altitude of the plain gradually falls from the foot of these reliefs to the Adriatic Sea} maximum heights in ·the internal Piemonte sector being about 650 m near Cuneo} and minimal in the depressed areas of the sub-coastal belt} particularly the lowest point of -5 m a.s.l. near Porto Tolle in the Po Delta (fig. 4.1). The new representation of altimetry by means of contour lines is given both in the Map of Relief and Vertical Movements and in the Geomorphological Map. It is the result of new processing of topographic data which have been available up to 1990} and introduces many new features which (with exceptions) were lacking until now} both sub-regionally and on the entire physical region. Ifwe examine the physicalmaps in the best Italian and international atlases} the deficiencies of preceding maps of the Po Plain altimetry are clearly due to the lack ofaltimetric data in the basictopographic maps. Processing ofvarious maps startingfrom the I.G.M. maps on a 1:25} 000 scaleand those produced by the various reclamation consortia have meant that only partial, regional-scale} altimetric maps could be prepared, mainly by geographers (Toscbi, Ortolani, Comel, Lehmann) M. Bondesan, Ciabatti, etc.). Since the 19th century} altimetric representation in the official I.G.M. maps for the plain areas was carriedout in a dishomogeneous way by using contour lines (5 m interval) and spot heights. Regional technical mapping too} which followed that of the I.G.M. after the 1970s} was adapted to this type of representation} but added more spot heights obtained from aerial photographs in the low plain sectors. In maps of various thematic atlases of Italy (Italian Touring Club) Tecneco, etc.), due to their small scale} the plain altimetry was characterized by well-distanced or even absent contour lines} i.e., it was represented by altimetric belts in different colours which thus did not supply sufficient information for any type of geomorphological consideration.

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