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Conventional Signs and Symbols on a Map (Week 4)

Almost everything that appears on a map, except a printed name, is a conventional sign.Conventional signs and symbols represent various features shown on a map and are not drawn to scale. Most conventional signs and symbols are very easy to learn and they make using a map much easier and more clear.
Man made features like cities, roads and railways are very important on a map, therefore, they are shown far larger on a map than their real size. Colours are used to make map symbols more clear and they are used to put map symbols into groups.
There are three types of map symbols:
  1. Point Symbols= buildings, dipping tanks, trigonometrical beacons.
  2. Line Symbols= railways, roads, power lines, telephone lines.
  3. Area Symbols=cultivation, orchards and vineyards, pans.
The following colour codes are used with map symbols:
  1. Brown: land or earth features= contour lines, eroded areas, prominent rock outcrops, sand areas and dunes, secondary or gravel roads.
  2. Light Blue: water features= aqueducts, canals, furrows and siphons, coastlines, dams, lakes, marshes, swamps and vleis, pans, rivers, water towers.
  3. Dark Blue= national freeways.
  4. Green: vegetation features= cultivated fields, golf courses, nature and game reserve boundaries, orchards and vineyards, recreation grounds, woodland.
  5. Black: construction features= roads, tracks, railways, buildings, bridges, cemeteries, communication towers, dam walls, excavations and mine dumps, telelphone lines, power lines, windpumps, wrecks, ruins, trigonometrical beacons, boundaries.
  6. Grey: construction features= built-up areas, cadastral information.
  7. Red: consruction featues= national, arterial and main roads, lighthouses and marine lights.
  8. Pink= international boundaries. 
Always remember that grouping map symbols into colours will allow you to remember them easier and it will allow for you to understand the symbols much better!!
We can also group map symbols into 5 elements:
  1. Relief= contours, spot heights, trigonometrical beacons.
  2. Water= lakes, rivers, waterholes, resevoirs.
  3. Vegetation= cultivation, orchards and vineyards, forests, plantations, woodland.
  4. Man-made= communication lines, settlements.
  5. Political= boundaries.
 This is an example of how a trig beacon is shown as a symbol on a map:
Here are some examples of symbols that could appear on a map:
 This symbol represents an excavation:
This symbol represents a cemetery:

This symbol represents a power line:

This symbol represents a provincial border:

 NB!! Most of the important map signs/symbols are found at the bottom of a map in a map key or legend. this key or legend will allow you to identify symbols that you are not sure of. ALWAYS refer to this key/ legend.