1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Partial derivatives of contour maps/level curves

  1. Sep 20, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Basically I have two problems that are asking for the partial derivative with respect to x and y at a certain point on a level curve graph, and a contour map. How do you go about doing these? There is no function given, so I don't really know what they expect you to do. Theres also no examples at all in my book or from lecture notes.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    So I know to leave y as a constant if im differentiating with respect to x and etc...but I just don't know how to calculate a tangent line in these situations. Any help/hints appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2010 #2
    I do not see how you can get accurate partial derivatives from a contour map. One method is to use the difference in elevations divided by the difference in y (or x). By the mean value theorem, this is the partial derivative for some value of y in the interval.
  4. Sep 20, 2010 #3
    Well the problem says "estimate", but I figured since it's webassign that could mean just round off to the nearest whole number since the level curves/contour maps are given as just whole numbers.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook