Symbols, Legends And Designing a Map

Setting the Scene

Maps have two basic components;

Marginalia

This term comes from a convention that all additional information about the map was printed/drawn in the margins of the map.

Marginalia can include;

Title

This is an essential feature of a map as it allows the reader to know what is being mapped. It is always in the largest font and usually written in capital letters. The title is placed in a prominent spot on a map. If more information is required it is placed underneath the main title in a smaller font.

Legend

A decoder for all the symbols used on a map is called a legend. Sufficient information on a map is given to assist the user to understand what the symbols are communicating. It needs to be comprehensive, and explain and define what each symbol means in a concise way. Simple designs are used for symbols and they are as different from each other as possible. An existing standard of symbols is used where possible.

Activity

Using the Canberra satellite image provided answer the following questions:

  1. What is the title of the map?
  2. What is the purpose of the map?
  3. Does the map need a legend to make the map clear?
  4. Create a legend for this map showing important structures, water, roads, etc.
  5. Is the legend you created for the national capital area effective? Explain your answer.
  6. How different is this map from the maps Charles Scrivener designed for the federal capital? Explain your answer.

Outcomes

Factsheet download: