Map symbol

Graphic depiction of a geographic phenomenon / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A map symbol or cartographic symbol is a graphical device used to visually represent a real-world feature on a map, working in the same fashion as other forms of symbols. Map symbols may include point markers, lines, regions, continuous fields, or text; these can be designed visually in their shape, size, color, pattern, and other graphic variables to represent a variety of information about each phenomenon being represented.

In this map, the city points, highway lines, and the fill colors of the ocean and different countries are all considered map symbols. These symbols show location, convey information, increase aesthetic appeal, and create a gestalt order to the map.

Map symbols simultaneously serve several purposes:

  • Declare the existence of geographic phenomena
  • Show location and extent
  • Visualize attribute information
  • Add to (or detract from) the aesthetic appeal of the map, and/or evoke a particular aesthetic reaction (a "look and feel")
  • Establish an overall gestalt order to make the map more or less useful, including visual hierarchy