Community Map Symbols

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:

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.


Re: Community Map Symbols

Author: Holger Will

just some thoughts on this: you might want to ask at, there are a lot of talented artists, who are very helpful. these sybols is exactly what fits into the OpenClipartLibrary i think. for converting SVG to bitmaps, i suggest the Batik rasterizer ( ). anyways, great idea ;-) cheers Holger

Re: Community Map Symbols

Author: Matt Perry

You might want to check out the Green Map icon system... a collaboratively developed set of symbols for "linking ecological and cultural resources" on a map: I'm not sure what kind of license they fall under or what format they're available in. But the idea is alive.

Re: Community Map Symbols

Author: Chris Tweedie

From my experience its sometimes impossible to determine licensing restrictions based on symbols. ESRI font symbols come with a copyright attached (no mention of restricted use though) and i think Mapinfo also does, but many other font based (truetype) and graphic based (bmp, png, svg) ones come with no attribution at all. I recently was stumbling around the web trying to find these elusive "open symbols" but a lot were actually combined collections of copyrighted works or of terrible cartographic quality. Talk about confusion. I ended up using the good old pencil in Freehand to create my own works ... imo, OSGeo would be a good medium to start an "open cartographic library" project

Re: Community Map Symbols

Author: Rob McCulley

I agree completely. It would be great to see an svg library of map symbols under a creative commons license. Kind of like the tango project for maps ( Hopefully the major players would allow SVG as a symbol option as well (ESRI, MapInfo, Autodesk etc. I'm looking at you).

Re: Community Map Symbols

Author: Micah Cochran

> you might want to ask at, there are a lot of talented artists, who are very helpful. these sybols is exactly what fits into the OpenClipartLibrary i think. If you look in the Signs and Symbols collection of the, you can find many symbols that could be used to various mapping purposes. The licenses of those symbols vary, but are generally Public Domain.