Types of Symbols

Understanding the logic of map symbols begins with recognising the three classes of map symbols.

Features on maps can be divided into 3 types:

  • those with area, for example lakes, states or the extent of forests;
  • those represented by lines for example rivers, roads or railway lines; and
  • those represented by points, for example railway stations or on some maps such as those in atlases the locations of towns.

Whether towns are shown as a polygon or a point depends on the scale of the map and the size of the town.

These features are used differently on the different types of maps. They may also be used differently by different map makers!

Cartography is a special discipline concerned with the accurate and reliable presentation of maps.

Map of Kurnell Peninsula from Port Hacking 1:25000.

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