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Use of Captial letters in a legend

September 25 2009 | 2 comments
Categories: Map Elements

I am trying to find out if there is a protocol for the use of capital letters in a legend. For instance, at the following blog entry you will see "Fire Tower", "Picnic area" and "Backcountry campsite (permit required)".
I am working on a map that has "First aid/Nursing station", "Exit number", "Province or state boundary", "Picnic Park" and "Carpool Parking" to name a few.
Do you know if there is an accepted guideline out there or is it up to the individual? We have "rules" for naming features on the map, but none for the legend. Should it possibly follow regular grammar type rules...


Mapping Center Answer:

There is not really a standard convention in cartography although we try to always follow the regular grammar rules when possible -- the only rule of thumb I would suggest you MUST follow is that you be consistent within your legend or between legends on multiple maps.

Capital Letters in the Legend posted by Bob Plummer on Nov 12 2009 10:30PM
I have tried both ways for text in a map legend. I found that the use of capital letters at the start of each main word makes it easier for the user to read the text. For example Picnic Area and Washrooms is easier to read than Picnic area and washroooms.

I don't capitalize the first letter in such words such as and, of, the
Capitalizing all the letters in the legend text makes it very hard to read, but this a very common practice in many engineering style maps, drawings and figures.
Thanks for the tip! posted by Aileen Buckley on Nov 13 2009 9:14AM
I agree with you on this -- thanks for sharing this with our readers, Bob!

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