The purpose of this study was to determine the cognitive processes employed by an experienced individual when a 3D forward field of view (FFOV) was matched with a 2D topographic contour map. It was assumed that when the viewed landsurface and the map were at different azimuth orientations, comparisons between these two displays could not proceed without some preliminary cognitive adjustive manipulations. The findings of this experiment concluded that these manipulations appeared to be a combination of feature selection and mental rotation processing skills. It was discovered that for azimuth orientation, Reaction Time (RT) and Location Accuracy (LA) were more sensitive to the distinctiveness or salience of the terrain features in the FFOV than the angular disparities between the two displays. As a consequence, more accurate responses were accompanied by significantly faster RTs (p <.001) as azimuth orientations were manipulated. Additionally, the results of this study showed that as the complexity level (the number of visually presented terrain features) of the 2D map increased, RTs also increased and LAs were closer to the actual locations as participants had to process and compare that extra information. It was determined that these findings again indicated that map representations are encoded as individual landmarks and spatially organized together in a scene. Participants in this experiment also completed subjective ratings using a seven-point Likert scale. These results reflected participant's preferences for 3D views that contain distinctive terrain features and 2D maps with the highest complexity level.