I don't understand how the map works in this game. Is there a way for me to view it in an easier format?

Is there a way to indicate if an area has mountains or other stuff from the lines shown in the map or is it just random?

  • 4
    I don't fully understand your first question, but to the second one yes, the map in BOTW is a topographic map, and the contour lines indicate changes in elevation.
    – Unionhawk
    Nov 6, 2019 at 20:27
  • I don't really understand the wording of your first question, can you put it in different words? Nov 6, 2019 at 20:45
  • I think the OP means by the first question "is there a way to view the map that makes it easier to distinguish the features of it". They probably have in mind a map that is colorized and better shows things like forests, structures, and the mountains.
    – Kyle Rone
    Nov 6, 2019 at 20:49
  • 3
    maybe they have not activated the sheikah towers and all they see is the dark background with the blue lines
    – fja3omega
    Nov 14, 2019 at 1:18
  • This is a great question, by the way. Jan 7, 2020 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


The map is topographic, meaning it's a top-down view of the land, using lines (and shading) to indicate height and degrees of elevation.

When the lines are close together, this indicates a sharp change in elevation. When they are further apart, it indicates a very slow change in elevation.

enter image description here

Each line indicates a certain level of elevation. While this map doesn't state this anywhere, you can assume that each line is drawn at a 10m interval, for example. Therefore, using the above image, the sharp change indicates a 30m change in elevation over a short distance (left to right), whereas the slow change indicates the same change in elevation, over a much longer distance. So, the left image is indicating a cliff face, and the right image is a rolling hill.

The other contributing factor is the shades used. Lighter areas are higher altitudes, and darker areas are lower altitudes.

enter image description here

Landmarks can be identified, based on their size and shape, and colour. For example, the ocean is blue - shallow water (that you are able to walk though) is a paler shade of blue, and water that you need to swim through is a deeper shade of blue; lava is red; buildings, large landmarks (like the Bokoblin dens or Leviathan Skeletons), trees and forests are generally a flat "bushy" texture, and paths are a solid flat colour, snaking through the land.

So, applying this knowledge to the map, we can see that the green arrow indicates a slow incline (lines are further apart), and the red arrow indicates a sharp incline (lines are closer together), a Bokoblin den is hidden away in an alcove surrounded by cliffs, and a few patches of trees are in the surrounding areas.

enter image description here

The only other primary factor for this is the map discovery. To uncover the map, you need to activate the Shiekah Towers in each region, to reveal the actual map. Locations that you dicscover will show up as icons on the map, but the background will still remain the original black and blue patterned background if you do not activate the Towers.

There is an online interactive map that you can use to compare with your own map, zoom in and move around to help you get a better understanding of where everything is, as well as quests, treasure, memories, koroks, and any other significant landmark might be.

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