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Map Symbols


Discuss with your group how things get shown on a map (not an exact picture but using symbols).

Give each of the group a piece of paper, fold the paper so their are 8 sections (if you are feeling ambitious, you could fold for more spaces). Ask them to draw (1 per box) what symbol would they would use to represent:

  • School
  • Pub
  • Campsite
  • Monster-infested swamp
  • Footpath
  • Train station
  • Nature reserve
  • View point

Once they have drawn their ideas (you can use different examples to fit the group), use the OS map key (either on a paper map, print in advance or show on a screen) to see how close their ideas were to the real map symbols.

Take some time to look at the OS map and try and find examples of as many of these symbols as you can

If time allows, in small groups, draw a map of a real or imaginary place using some of these symbols

Discussion questions

  • which symbols are easier to understand?
  • which symbols would you change?
  • Do you feel more confident reading some of the symbols on an OS map?

Resources Required

Ordinance Survey map, paper, pens


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