I was just asked if I knew of a comprehensive set of openly licensed map symbols:
I have been searching for a set of fairly 'classic' map symbols, that is reasonably complete; classic meaning that the symbols actually convey some meaning, without being overly fuzzy and complex, so it is easy to extend the set without having to imitate somebodies idiosyncratic style.
I'm not aware of such a thing. But it occurs to me that this might be just the job for the OSGeo foundation. High quality free and open source symbols would break down another one of our long-standing barriers to deployment. They might even be able to pay for themselves. OSGeo could relicense them for use with MapGuide Enterprise or other commercial editions of OSGeo products.
Here are the requirements, as I see them:
Creative Commons license.
Conform to accessibility guidelines.
The time is now for scalable vector graphics. With the help of several style sheets, we'd have a whole family of symbol sets: greyscale, section 508, or retro web-safe. MapServer can't use them directly (yet) but there are a number of open source tools -- like GIMP -- that can convert SVG to old school pixmaps. It also wouldn't be terribly difficult to convert simple SVG symbols back to MapServer's own symbology language with a little mapscript fu. Future versions of OSGeo software, like a MapServer 5.0, will want to use SVG directly.