A locator map identifies a place or region of interest and emphasizes its geographic setting. The following are some characteristics of locator maps:
- They display a variety of information.
- The primary aims are legibility and graphic contrast.
- No graphics marks (that is, symbolized points, lines or polygons; text; or raster pixels) should be given visual emphasis over others.
Successful locator maps often display very little extra information while drawing the reader's attention to a particular location of interest and its geographic setting. For example, a small locator map might accompany a newspaper article to help show the location of a current event. Locator maps are also used to identify areas that are shown in greater detail on another map. These types of locator maps are often found in gazetteers and road atlases to identify the extent of the map on a single page.