Symbol Store - Try it out!

The Symbol Store allows users to search, choose, and download over 1,200 (and growing!) map symbols. Each symbol in the database is enriched by detailed metadata that includes category, agency, organization and set, rating, symbol descriptions, and user-submitted tags.

Once a search is returned, users can browse through the results and choose the desired symbols. Much like an online store, symbols can be added to the cart where they remain until downloaded or the user chooses to remove them. Symbol sets are downloaded as Esri Style Files so they can easily be imported into new or current map projects.

Additional features enable Symbol Store users to preview their selected symbols on various maps. Privileged users may upload their own symbols and edit the information contained in existing symbols.

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Within a large geo-enabled organization, a wide range of map symbols may be in use at any given time. While current tools like ArcGIS allow users to share pre-defined symbol sets using .style files, there remains a need for flexible, visually-enabled tools to support browsing, sharing, and downloading symbols. Our recent experiences working with mapmakers at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has revealed that while many sub-divisions of the agency have dedicated .style files that define custom symbol sets, there is no easy-to-use mechanism for mapmakers to see which symbols are in use in other divisions or to easily share symbols across divisions. We have recently begun tackling this problem through the design and development of a web-based Symbol Store. A video of the Symbol Store prototype is below:

e-Symbology Portal

Our work with mapmakers and map users at DHS has revealed that a wide range of symbol sets are currently in use for a diverse range of DHS missions. In our initial research we identified a need for a new method for formalizing and refining these mission-specific symbol sets. The e-Symbology Portal is a Drupal-based web portal designed to facilitate iterative refinement of mission-specific symbol sets. Our first test of the e-Symbology Portal took place in early 2010 with users from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These participants used the e-Symbology Portal to systematically evaluate, refine, and augment their "in-house" symbol standard. Feedback from this research has resulted in improvements to the e-Symbology Portal that will be evaluated further in the coming year with additional organizations at DHS. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about using the e-Symbology Portal for your organization.

This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of funding agencies.