Do You Know What the Symbols of a Map Legend Mean?

Olivia C

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

In this day and age, map reading skills have become necessary in our daily living.

We are always surrounded by many things in our immediate environment. Going from point A to point B is sometimes a tedious task, especially for those people who claim they are "bad with directions." That's well and good now, since there are many devices and tools that help them cope with today's information-driven world. And one such tool is creating friendly maps that are easy to follow.

The invention of the GPS allows motorists to have the flexibility of navigating their travels. But the GPS is also a map-based system. Do you know the different map symbols that you may encounter in reading this system?

The same is true for looking up something in apps like Google Maps. While it's easier to search for places by typing the words on the search box, the map is still peppered with age-tested symbols that average map readers should be familiar with by now. 

So, do you think you could name some -- if not all -- of these map symbols, common to many kinds of maps these days? Then this quiz will be a cinch for you! Go dive in, then! 

Good luck!

Capital cities are usually marked by this map symbol. What is it?

A star in a map usually means that the place it is identifying is the capital. It could be the country capital or the provincial capital, depending on what kind of area map you're reading.

For large and notable cities, what is used as a map symbol to point them out?

If the stars identify the capital cities, the other notable big cities are usually identified using heavy dots on a map. That way, it's easier to spot them.

Harried tourists know what this symbol means on a city map! Do you?

This restroom map symbol is universal in any place in the world. But it could just be called by other terms, depending on the region of the world you are visiting.

In this topographic map, the green area represents what?

The green areas in a topographical map identify the vegetation. It could be lush greenery, or just plain meadowlands.

This map symbol is very familiar with travelers. What does it stand for?

The airport map symbol is easy enough to understand, even for first-time travelers. That's usually the main port of departure or entry.

When you're away from home, this symbol could save your life. What does it stand for?

This symbol is universal enough to understand around the world. It stands for hospital.

This map symbol stands for what kind of transportation system?

Railroad symbols should be noted clearly on a map so motorists can anticipate them during their travels.

In a topographic map, what does the blue area stand for?

Bodies of water, no matter what kind, are denoted by blue colored areas on a topographical map. Even the depth of the water is sometimes defined according to the deeper shading of blue on the map.

People traveling for rest and recreation know that this map symbol stands for what?

The hotel or lodging symbol on a map is fairly universal, making it easier for tourists to find a place to rest for the night.

History buffs try to locate this in a town they're visiting. What does it mean?

Museums are an important map symbol to look for on a tourist map.

Motorists are always on the lookout for these spots when driving. What does it stand for?

Road trips should be planned and prepared ahead of time. Marking where these gas or petrol stations are in your path ensures you won't be stranded.

Famished travelers look for these on a map. What does the symbol stand for?

Restaurants and other kinds of eating places are usually symbolized by this spoon-and-fork map symbol. Cafes, on the other hand, could be specifically identified using a cup symbol, like in Google Maps.

Commuting tourists find these symbols helpful. What do they stand for?

A subway or railway station is usually color-coded on a map. This is helpful for a city with many subways​ or railway lines, especially those that intersect each other or share a common platform.

These thick, heavy lines on a map usually indicate what?

National highways are mapped out with thick, heavy lines in given areas. Some of them intersect others.

This map symbol stands for what type of building?

It's sometimes important to mark where schools are in a given area. This symbol will help you locate one on a map.

This map symbol leads you where?

Skiing area map symbols are fairly easy to spot. But it may be an alien symbol for people living in the tropics.

People who love the outdoors know what this symbol means. Do you?

This symbol points out where the picnic areas or picnic grounds are located in a given space. Picnic lovers know this all too well.

This symbol denotes an area is used for what?

A golf course symbol on a map is useful for golfers.

This symbol is handy for those who won't be driving on their own. What does it stand for?

The bus station or bus stop map symbol is fairly common around the globe. City maps are full of them!

This map symbol stands for what kind of structure?

Bridge symbols should also be noted by motorists driving toward unfamiliar places. They may not know that such bridges may not be crossable during certain seasons.

For emergencies, it's good to note this symbol in a map. What does it represent?

Even if most people have cellphones these days, it's still good to note areas where you can find landline phones.

Selfie-loving tourists know what this map symbol stands for. What does it represent?

To know which places to see, travelers mark tourist spots or areas of interests on a map. These are usually symbolized by this camera map symbol, or variations thereof.

This symbol is clearly denoting which area?

A marina is usually symbolized by this anchor-like image on a map. This is where you'll see small boats docked in a nice-looking harbor.

Inclusivity is key. That's why it's important to know what this symbol stands for. What does it denote?

Some maps now include the universal PWD access symbol. That way, people with disabilities, especially those in wheelchairs, know where they can have easier access to certain areas.

The thinner lines that run all over a map are usually symbols for what?

If national or major highways are marked by heavy lines on a map, the usually thinner lines that run parallel or intersect with these highways symbolize roads. Some maps don't delineate major roads from alleys, though, and draw them the same.

For pollution-free traveling, noting where these areas are would be helpful. What does this symbol stand for?

Bicycle lanes are also mapped out clearly on a map. This gives bikers an easier way to spot them.

Have faith that you'll spot one of these in a new place. What does it stand for?

The building with a cross symbol usually means that it's a church. If the building has a crescent moon, then it's a mosque.

Scout's honor, we know you know this one! What does it stand for?

Campground map icons are helpful for those who love to go camping. Hikers should also take note of this.

Fans of long walks in a non-urban setting try to spot this on a map. What does it stand for?

Nature trail map symbols are easy to understand for trekkers, hikers, and mountain climbers. But the average urban-focused person may not be familiar with it.

Try to catch something here! What does this map symbol represent?

Fishing area map symbols are quite easy to understand for anyone who sees them.

These elevated pointy areas on a map mean what?

Mountainous areas are usually drawn with triangular pointy images on a map. Simplified maps usually use dark-shaded triangles to denote a mountain range.

This clump or cluster is a map symbol for what kind of area?

When you see clumps of tree images on a map, that means it's a forest area.

This map symbol will help if you want to send a postcard somewhere. What does it stand for?

The post office symbol is still good to note for travelers who like mailing postcards. Yes, in the age of email, they still exist!

Underwater enthusiasts know what this symbol means. Do you know what it stands for?

Certified scuba divers look for this map symbol. There are also marks or symbols for wrecks where divers could happily explore.

Boaters know what this symbol means. What does it stand for?

A sailing area map symbol is useful for water sports enthusiasts. Sailing is life, for them!

Quench your thirst with this symbol. What does it stand for?

For those who have sensitive health issues, spotting this map symbol is necessary. This points them to where they could have access to safe drinking water in an unfamiliar place.

Check your directions first! What map symbol will help you with this?

A map usually shows the compass rose, where the north-south-east-west directions of a map are​ denoted. Check this first, before anything else.

For travelers with their own cars, it's a top priority to spot one of these. What does the symbol represent?

A parking area map symbol is useful for motorists. They just need to know if the parking area is free or if it has a fee.

Netizens are quick to note this symbol in a map. What does it stand for?

WiFi access symbols have been necessary additions to map makers. Many travelers are always looking for areas where they can go online.

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