Sunday, November 22, 2009
If you've ever worked with U.S. or NATO military units in conflict areas and either peeked at or used their maps, you know they're filled with all sorts of strange symbols. The bad news is if you've never served in some country's army, good luck figuring out what all of the non-intuitive squiggles, boxes and colors mean. The good news is all the symbols are standardized (NATO APP-6a, to be exact) and there are public references available that tell you what they mean - for example, here's a link to a recent U.S. Department guide. If you're into maps by necessity or curiosity, be sure to check out Tom Mouat's MapSymb site, which includes lots of information on military map symbology including downloadable TrueType symbol fonts.