W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 2009

RE: Universal Symbols for Accessible Routes etc. on Maps

From: Michael Gaigg <mgaigg@esri.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 12:23:39 -0700
To: "Stephani L. Roberts" <stephani@MIT.EDU>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <232B5217AD58584C87019E8933556D11012597B751@redmx2.esri.com>

There are certainly commonly accepted cartographic conventions (like using blue lines for rivers and green colors for vegetation), and certain mapping agencies will adopt a set of cartographic symbols for their maps (like the symbols on a USGS topographic map, as shown in Parts 5 and 6 on this web site: http://rockyweb.cr.usgs.gov/nmpstds/qmapstds.html), but there is NO ONE SET of universally accepted cartographic symbols. And for cartographers that is actually a good thing! Different maps will require different symbology for all sorts of reasons that relate to the use and the audience of the maps.

That said, there ARE sets of symbols that many map makers use and therefore many map readers are familiar with. Many of these are sets of symbols are found in our mapping software ArcGIS and are called styles. For the types of features you are trying to map, there are no standard symbol sets though. So for example, if you are making a 2D map, you can check out the Public Signs style. This style contains marker symbols that have the kinds of signs you might find in public buildings to indicate such things as elevators, escalators, and stairs. The Hazmat style has things like stairs (of various types), escalators, elevators (or various types), and handicapped accessible emergency exits.  The Transportation style contains symbols for handicapped reserved parking and access for the handicapped. Other styles will contain other symbols.  You can either use these symbols as they are, use them to create your own symbols, or create your own symbols using other input (e.g., graphic image files).

Question: How can maps be made accessible?

This is on a different account and of interest to me personally and to my company. Do you have any experience with one or the other challenge of making internet mapping applications accessible? You can see a more detailed write-up here: 


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Stephani L. Roberts
Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 8:16 AM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Universal Symbols for Accessible Routes etc. on Maps


We're working on improving MIT's map for accessible routes and I'm 
wondering if anyone knows if there are universal symbols that convey 
the following information:

- power doors
- non-power doors
- elevators
- lifts
- ramps
- curb cuts
- curb without a curb cut
- accessible (handicapped) parking

I've looked at quite a few maps now and have found a wide variety of 
symbols used to convey the same information from on map to another. I 
get the sense that the cartographers and members of facilities are 
creating this symbols based on their process and knowledge. The 
symbols they choose are not all that intuitive and sometimes cause 
more confusion due to similar appearance and color. I'm hoping that 
somewhere out there, a library of universal symbols exists and our 
cartographer can use it as a reference.

Thank you,



Stephani L. Roberts
Web Accessibility Consultant - MIT  IS&T  ATIC Lab
building: n42-240k
phone: 253.0866

cell: 617.852.3100
email: stephani@mit.edu

Important: MIT IS&T staff will *NEVER* ask you for
your password, nor will MIT send you email
requesting your password information.
Received on Wednesday, 29 April 2009 19:24:25 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:39 UTC