GMS Icons v3b1 RFC
Saturday, 19-Aug-2006 22:09:08 EDT

The latest version of this document can be found at

Comments to the author.


Only a bare bones introduction here so far.


This document outlines my current vision for a second revision of the Green Map symbols, as I would have it were I a benevolent dictator. The icons were recategorized (except these) in in an attempt to simplify the scheme, helping to clarify and reduce redundancy.

TODO: Create a summary of "Such and such icons were deleted/added/modified." as a table with icons crossed/highlighted, etc?

For reference here are the version 2 definitions (local copy).


icon vs. symbol. SAX

Too much has been crammed into the single dimension of unique pictorial point symbols. There's also size, color, texture, linear and polygonal features, etc. AND the text accompanying the map.


In developing this recommendation for the next set of Green Map symbols a variety of inputs were considered including a survey of icon usage in 60 maps, known local icons, various map-makers' comments, and observations of some maps' recategorization of icons as well as some of the ideas presented in Improving the Cartographic Quality and Design of Greenmaps

Local icons are seen as generally being symptomatic of one of three things: 1) a misunderstanding of the base set of symbols 2) a problem with the base set e.g.; a gap in coverage 3) a map-maker veering of the beaten path. None of these things should be seen as exceptionally negative. Problems of language or hidden assumptions could easily give rise to the first case, and both the first and second are to be expected in an evolving, and as yet, young system.

In order to maintain universal readability local icons should be avoided when a base icon is available to convey the same or very similar type of feature. Creative recasting of an existing icon is always preferred to use of foreign symbols. Substitution of a green map icon with a pre-existing icon in common use for the feature type is acceptable, though still discouraged. For instance, you might use the logo for the local transit system instead of the "Major Public Transportation Station". If you do use a substitute for a base set icon, it is recommended that both the susbtitute and base set icon be included in the map legend to increase readability.

There were a few miscellaneous concepts which also played in the evaluation.

Using this document: Key

This document is best viewed with a CSS capable browser, though it should be readable without. However, if the words bold, underlined and strikeout are not distinct you will be unable to understand the content.
Changes and modifications from the version 2 definitions are indicated with a simple markup as indicated below.


Existing item

Usage data

Description modification or clarification

Icon: change recommendation (Optional)

New item


Icon: Optional icon recommendation

Removed item

Usage data


Reason for removal.

Usage data

Usage data includes the number of maps using each symbol in Total, Misused, Redefined, and Missing categories. The results are from a survey of of 60 maps, and largely based upon legends given an absence of knowledge of ground conditions. For example

31 used : 4 misused : 1 redefined : 5 missing

Where the lables are defined as:
The symbol was not used in the way described in the GMS v2 Icon Definitions (local copy).
The symbols's definition was creatively redefined to something very similar.
The symbol could have been used but was not.
Note: Redefined and Missing are particularly difficult to judge and may be undercounted.

Land Use

Landform / Geological Feature:

7 used

where unusual or typical forms are apparent. May be exposed rock layers, glacial till or a chasm view. You could discuss how feature was formed. Could be a layer on a GIS map.

Significant Habitat:

4 used : 1 misused : 0 redefined : 1 missing

notable wildlife habitat or natural area which may be rare or especially beautiful and rich. May have resources, for example, for turning your lawn back into a prairie, or for encouraging native animals to flourish. Map should Include details on the sensitivity of the areas.

Icon: v2 Bioregional icon?

Bio-regional Site / Indigenous Plants:

7 used : 0 misused : 0 redefined : 2 missing

shows the topography or waterways of the larger region. Includes plants native to the bio-region. Text can discuss bio-regional boundaries within or near the Green Map. Could be a layer on a GIS map or the whole Green Map could be based on bio-regional boundaries instead of political limits.

Merged into Significant habitat.

Public Forest / Natural Area:

23 used : 1 misused : 1 redefined : 1 missing

site that is publicly owned and accessible to all. A wide variety of natural areas can use this symbol. Balance your emphasis of forests with parklands to discourage the over-use of natural areas.


Erosion due to poor land or water management including farming practices and deforestation.

Icon: A crumbling cliff?


Alas, this should be all to obvious.

Icon: An axe, or better yet an axe stuck in a tree stump


Replanting a damaged or absent forest, erosion control, etc.

Icon: A 2 or 3-leafed sprout, sort of like though I'd prefer a stem with a pair of leaves at the base (one on each side) and a single leaf to one side at the top

Bamboo Forest:

2 used : 1 misused?

bamboo of any variety, a forest of any size. A fast growing renewable resource of major benefit.

This icon has been removed; it was deemed too specific and of narrow interest/ applicability, particularly given the existence of the more generally useful Public Forest/Natural Area and Significant Habitat symbols. You may also be interested in the Alternative Fibers symbol below, which could easily be used in combination with the Public Forest/Natural Area or Significant Habitat symbols

Alternative Fibers:

Renewable (fast growing) fiber sources. From dead tree alternatives such as bamboo, jute, and hemp to organic cotton or sustainably managed forests/ silviculture plantations (tree farms).

Icon: "v2 Bamboo Forest" icon

Green- Corridors, Belts and Ways (Wildlife Corridor / Greenways):

7 used : 0 misused : 1 redefined

Greenways often follow river or stream beds, ravines or steep hills, and are left in a natural state (more or less). May also be used to indicate a corridor dedicated to safe wildlife passage, or greenbelts (tracts of land set-off limits to deter/confine sprawl).

Wild Foodstuffs (Gleaning Area / Fishing):

9 used : 1 misused

Gather wild food here, including mushrooms, seaweed, greens, berries and other fruits. Note: Publicizing resources may increase pressure upon them, advise readers to practice moderation to prevent over-harvesting.

Icon: Similar to the existing icon, but add 1 or 2 loops/handles to more clearly represent `basket'

!!! Farms that permit gleaning or services that pick up party leftovers for food banks.


4 used

a full-size organic farm or small-scale city farm, includes perma-culture, and free-range livestock. Can be used to indicate organizations that make the link between urban communities and nearby farmers through community-supported agriculture--also known as box schemes--and agri-schools or food security resources such as food banks.

Public Garden / Plant Spot:

22 used : 2 misused : 1 redefined

Botanical garden, native wildflower society, arboretum, etc.

Community Garden:

22 used : 1 misused

often on public or formerly abandoned land, Places where people plant and grow their own vegetables and flowers in small plots. People also grow relationships and a close connection to the city. Sometimes fenced and locked; sometimes threatened by development. Include contact information.

Icon: Perhaps or but I strongly recommend using the v2 "Special Garden" icon as it best captures the concept.

Special Community Garden:

10 used : 0 misused : 0 redefined : 2 missing

especially nice. Along with a diversity of plants, may have a stage, artwork, solar powered water features, nice seating or other amenities. Publicly accessible and cooperatively run. This Icon can be used to indicate a special garden that, though private, can be easily seen by pedestrians.

Merged into "Community Garden"

Natural Landscaping / Backyard Habitat:

Incorporation of as many of the following or similar concepts as possible: xeriscaping (drough tolerant design), native plants, bat boxes, birdhouses, butterfly gardens, amphibian habitat

Icon: v2 "Significant Habitat" icon

Open Space:

7 used : 0 misused : 0 redefined : 1 missing

open, natural area within an urban area or in the developed countryside.

This is an ill-defined category that overlaps others. If a clearer, distinct, defintion can be created a more intuitve icon than `infinity' is needed.

Parkland and Recreation Area:

23 used : 1 misused : 1 redefined : 1 missing

green space that offers place to relax and play. May include sports fields, running paths, canoe rental, or children's play equipment, along with vegetation and a pond, creek or other water feature. Some parklands may be publicly-owned and free; others might charge admission.

Parkway (Shaded Boulevard):

7 used : 0 misused : 0 redefined : 1 missing

are designed to be pleasant for walking and bicycle riding in hot climates.


Public Square Car-Free Zone:

11 used : 0 misused : 1 redefined

A traditional urban gathering place, public open space which may have benches, fountain, etc. Occasionally a public square is located in a garden or park, or indoors in a mall.

Eco Design/Planning Feature:

6 used : 0 misused : 1 redefined

exciting design features including public transport stations, plazas, integrated native plantings and street furniture such as kiosks, benches, fountains, or lighting that use materials and energy efficiently, contributing to the streetscape. Can indicate an area planned for ecological soundness.

Merged with Green Building

Eco Design Resource:

0 used

a source for the best materials and supplies for sustainable building, landscape, graphic, product, fashion and other kinds of design. May be an organization for information, or a place to gather natural materials, a store, exchange center or showroom. Simply may be a place where you can draw inspiration from natural systems.

Unfocused and unused, this largely duplicates aspects of other symbols.

Icon: v2 "Eco Design/Planning Feature" if kept

Eco Green Building/Planning:

13 used : 2 misused : 1 redefined

Buildings made with responsible materials and building systems, or projects incorporating any of various design philosphies including mixed use, New Urbanism or co-housing, and often give offer public tours emphasizing how to reduce negative impacts. May include centers for energy efficiency and understanding environmental systems for buildings.

Icon: The icon is okay, especially if the e theme were carried through to other symbols where appropriate, otherwise the building with a gridded-globe cut-out might also work.

Shanty Town / Self-built Home:

1 used : 1 misused

Can represent shanty towns or favelas that form in urban areas to house low-income people, or earth-built homes of natural materias such as adobe or straw. This homemade housing often reuses building materials. See also "Environmental Justice" and "Green Building"

Sprawl / Encroachment

Poor urban planning consumes virgin land (greenfields) in city expansion, often at the expense of mobility/commute time in addition to wildlife habitat.

Icon: Some sort of expanding city edge?

Remediated Site:

7 used

Prior industrial site (brownfield), which may have been contaminated, has been cleaned up and is ready for natural systems to take over, or to be re-developed. In the US, brownfields (land either contaminated by toxics, or perceived to be) programs are putting remediated industrial lands back to work, often in areas where people need jobs. Can include sites where the cleanup is in progress.

Redevelopment Opportunity Site:

5 used : 2 misused : 0 redefined : 1 missing

area that is well-located for ecologically-sound regeneration. Might currently be a blight site, paved over or even in use, but has the potential to be a wonderful addition to the community and environment.

Energy Grid Generating Facility:

7 used : 1 misused

Generally, conventional fossil-fueled facilities that provide electricity to the public. You may also include hydro-electric or nuclear, depending upon your feelings regarding them, with this icon. Otherwise see Geothermal, Nuclear Facilities and Waste, Hydro Power, Solar Power, and Wind Power symbols.

Geothermal Power:

Heat pumps, hot water systems, electricity generation.

Icon: Geyser?

Nuclear Facilities and Waste:

0 used

possible source of radiation leaks and radioactive wastes. May be destination points for trucks and trains carrying radioactive materials; military, health and research facilities.It might be of interest to note the percentage of electricity that comes from nuclear power plants in your area.

Fossil Fuel Facility (Oil and Natural Gas Facility):

4 used : 1 misused

Can be a "tank farm" with several large storage containers, or a place where oil is pumped and processed. Where does the energy that powers your lifestyle come from? What are the hazards associated with current practices?

Mining Site:

4 used : 0 misused: 0 redefined : 2 missing

Current or prior mine OR QUARRY; you may wish to indicate what kind was extracted. Some cities or structures are built directly on top of mines and quarries. Mines are notorious hotspots.

Underground Storage Tank:

6 used

Sources of potential soil and ground water contamination; usually used for oil and gas leaks; for example, a gas station with leaking underground tanks can be an invisible source of pollution. Home fuel oil storage tanks can also be a problem source.

Landfill / Tip:

8 used

municipal solid waste dump where garbage and soil are layered together, sometimes in a properly lined landfill (dump) facility with a methane gas capturing system. When filled, decommissioned landfills are capped and sometimes landscaped.

(Officially Listed) Contaminated Site:

5 used

site on the government's official priority "clean-up" list, where applicable, like the USEPA's Superfund list. Can be used for other severely polluted sites, even in countries without an official list. In some countries, these sites must be cleaned up by industry.

Blight Site:

13 used

An area generally destroyed with toxics and other ugliness by uncaring industry and people. Set and state your criteria.

Traffic Hazard Zone:

4 used : 1 misused

where motorized traffic is especially heavy, noisy, polluting and dangerous to pedestrians, bicyclers and nearby residents.

Merged into "Danger Zone"; it is a natural subset of "Danger Zone" and the icon caused problems for some.

Danger Zone:

2 used

A dangerous area including natural phenomena or man-made hazards such as volcanoes and high-crime areas or animal crossings.


Hydro Power:

Any kind: big or small hydroelectric, run-of-river, or tidal.

Icon: Waterwheel

Boat Launch Site:

11 used

for human powered boats such as canoes, rowboats or kayaks, or wind powered ones like sailboats. Your map can mention if a permit is needed, or if there are other restrictions.

River or Water-front Park:

18 used : 3 misused : 1 redefined : 1 missing

place where you can watch, walk along and play by the water. Water bodies of all types. Swimming and wading may be possible.


9 used : 1 misused

may be on the official protection list. These areas are important habitats and useful for water cleaning. May be natural, reconstructed or artificial. You may include guidelines for viewing sites, which may be on private land.

Water Feature:

12 used : 0 misused : 0 redefined : 2 missing!!

could be a beautiful fountain, waterfall or natural pond. May simply celebrate water or offer a refreshing drink. May be ecologically designed. e.g; springs, hot springs, water plazas

Duck Pond:

5 used

place where ducks, geese, and other waterfowl gather. In cities, often a good place to watch and feed the birds. In the wild, just enjoy their water ballet.

Water Reuse / Recycling System:

7 used

using plants and aquatic animals to aerate, filter and purify water without adding chemicals, alternative storm water management. There are many kinds of high and low tech water recycling systems in the built environment. e.g; grey water, cisterns, green roofs

Icon: Recycle symbol with a drop of water inside the arrows?

Water Pollution Source:

7 used : 0 misused : 0 redefined : 2 missing

may include a specific factory's pollution stream or an inadequate sewage treatment plant. Sometimes, these are "non-point" sources, like where pollutants wash off paved roads or a farm where animal wastes and/or chemical fertilizers drain off the land into drinking water supplies. e.g; golf courses

Icon: Curent icon is too similar to "Toxic Release", use `Cuba''s?

Drinking Water Source:

11 used : 2 misused

indicates the source for your drinking water. May be used to show reservoirs, and major elements of the water system. Water purity and conservation information. Icon can be used in a line to indicate major underground pipelines.

Icon: Clarify by using a drop of water coming out of a faucet, like several projects including `France' and `Cuba'? On the other hand the "Drinking Water Source" / "Wastewater Treatment Facility" pairing is good.

Wastewater Treatment Facility:

11 used

generally, municipal systems for treating wastewater and sewage, some with public information centers or tours.

Money & Material Flows

Green Business/Service:

27 used : 2.5 misused : 1.5 redefined

You can create strict criteria like the ones in Oakland, California, or use a softer approach to selecting businesses that practice "green" policies. Or, you can leave them off and let the community discussion help determine what to include in the next edition.

Icon: Perhaps a leaf with the universal (or local) currency symbol superimposed on it?

Cooperative / Local Business:

Member owned grocery store, vegeterian housing cooperative, locally owned business--this is generally only worth indicating if it's "abnormal" for this kind of thing to be locally owned e.g; community credit unions

Icon: V2 "Green Business/Service" icon


Repair, preferably green repair i.e; of bicycles or refrubishing of appliances. You may want to stress balancing reuse/embedded energy vs. the continued use of a potentially inefficient product

Icon: A wrench

Strictly Green Store:

18 used : 1 misused

has only ecologically-conscious products. Now, you may not agree that 100% of them are truly a big improvement, but the intention, method of production, materials, reductions of impacts in use, store policies and so on, are all going in the right direction.

This is really just a matter of degree of "Green/Conserving Products", so use that symbol and add empahsis with color or increasing it's size, etc.

Green/Conserving Products:

15 used : 1 misused : 3 redefined

A store likely to carry a few which carries many eco-products among many that are conventional. In Calgary, Green Product selection was based on the following criteria: necessity of product, safety, quality, made from renewable or recycled materials, responsible packaging, information on manufacturing practices, options for disposal, whether locally produced and consideration of overall business practices.

Icon: Replace with something more identifiable than a Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb, perhaps the Energy Star or Blue Angel?

Fair Trade / Social Shop:

15 used : 1 misused : 2 redefined : 1 missing

this "light green" category includes somewhat green and socially responsible products and policies, but doesn't offer many things that "go all the way". Look closely at the shop's products, ask questions and decide the right category with your team. Maybe the store has a nature theme, but has too many plastic novelties mixed in. Consider adding your definition with this Icon.

Icon: Switch to a more recognizable/official icon.

Something like the Certification Mark of FLO International or Certified Fair Trade logo of Transfair USA. Transfair USA is actually a member of FLO, whom has been working on "the harmonization of process labels." Unfortunately, FLO has adopted "a very strict procedure with (their) logo", that arguably runs counter to the goals of harmonization, and in my initial attempts to secure permission to reproduce it we have been denied the right to do so. On the other hand, we have already received permission to adopt the Transfair graphic, which is currently used in the US and Canada. Also note that the Transfair logo is effectively two-tone, as opposed to the FLO logo's three tones, and while it might need to be simplified—like so —it also seems to convey more meaningful information.

Farmers' Market:

19 used : 0 misused : 1 redefined : 1 missing

Sells regionally and organically grown produce. Some also sell flowers, hand crafted items, baked goods, wine, wool, even regional cookbooks. Small family farms are kept going and the countryside remains green. Food doesn't have to travel far, so it's nice and fresh. You can experience the changing seasons as each new crop takes its turn showing up at the market, which is often very neighborly.

Icon: Solid apple in circle, for consistency with "Organic Produce / Natural Food Shop". Perhaps the apples should be the same size as well? A better symbol still would be a bushel of apples, this most closely matches/ completes the apple-based food symbols.

Organic Produce / Natural Food Shop:

39 used : 2 misused : 0 redefined : 1 missing

food is grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, and no chemicals or waxes are added after harvesting. If processed, it is usually prepared in a way to maximize the nutritional value. May also include fair trade practices. Some supermarkets have a few kinds of organic vegetables amidst a large selection of conventionally grown produce. Should this store get the organic food Icon? You have to decide.

Vegetarian/Natural Cafe/Eatery:

30 used

the emphasis is on wholesome and healthful, fresh foods e.g; organic or locally grown ingredients, free range or cruelty-free animal products; if any at all i.e. vegan. Many ethnic restaurants easily satisfy these criteria.

Composting Site:

10 used

where food scraps, leaves and garden trimmings are turned into rich new soil, with the help of worms, containment bins and Mother Nature. Large-scale or demonstration project, information and resources for home and garden composting. May include drop-off site for food scraps, or good place to buy locally produced compost.

Reuse Site:

27 used

second-hand shop, flea market, repair shop or materials exchange. Decide whether all second-hand shops should be included, or only those run by a charity. You can select the top ten, or choose another criterion. Significant reused buildings and other examples of reuse can be included.

Recycling Site:

26 used : 2 misused

drop-off site for materials that can be reprocessed or refilled. Businesses that buy, work with or sell products made from recycled materials. City program information contacts. Can include good examples of places where recycled materials are in use.

Icon: Keep the icon. This note is to emphasize that the existing icon is an international standard. In addition many alternate symbols such as the German `Green Dot' have distinctly different meanings.



Wildlife Watching Site:

21 used : 2 misused : 2 redefined

place to see animals in the wild. Sites may be delicate nesting areas or habitats, so Green Maps should therefore stress that people must approach with care and understanding. Officially recognized sites as well as locally-known sites could be accompanied by rules for viewing, and details on the species you might see.

Icon: Binoculars

Insect Watching:

4 used : 0 misused : 0 redefined : 1 missing

good area to view insects and bugs as they fly or crawl though life.

Flyover Zone:

6 used

Used to indicate prevailing direction of birds' seasonal migrations if regular flight pattern is established. May also be any other good place to watch flocks of birds overhead.

Noise Pollution Source:

8 used

sometimes difficult to pinpoint, but these places have a powerful effect on quality of life. Noise can come from traffic, industrial sources, airports, quarries, heavy equipment, transportation terminals etc.

Air Pollution Source:

16 used

anything from industrial smokestacks and truck routes to poorly-run composting projects.

Light Pollution Free:

7 used

A dark vantage point that allows unobstructed views of the heavens ideal for watching auroras, star-gazing, meteors, etc.

Great View / Scenic Vista:

2 used

favorite place to see what makes the city's environment special. Seek suggestions broadly for these sites.

Sunrise/Sunset Site:

9 used

wonderful spot to relax and enjoy the sunset, most likely outdoors.Great sunrise spots can also be marked with this symbol.

Wind Power (Wind Energy Site):

2 used

wind turbines and windmills harness energy that is generated by the wind on this site. Can be a small system that operates a simple pump or a large electricity generating facility. Can indicate wind power information resources.

Solar Power (Solar Energy Site):

15 used

Passive heating (e.g; adobe) or cooling, solar panels, etc. Either existing installations, or related information sources and services.


3 used

where solid waste is burned at high temperatures, sometimes capturing the embodied energy (waste-to-fuel). The volume is reduced considerably, but in some countries, the resulting ash is considered hazardous waste. Often, toxics are emitted from the smokestacks as air pollution. Can include incinerators at hospitals, crematoriums, large institutions and municipal facilities.


Bicycle Person Power Site:

27 used : 6 misused : 0 redefined: 1 missing

good place to buy, borrow or rent bicycles, work bikes and other kinds of human-powered vehicles. Organizations and places to find out about bike safety or advocacy. This Icon Can also be used to indicate other kinds of bike-friendly services and sites.

Icon: Generalize to human-powered vehicles somehow? Pedals and rollerskates?

Pedestrian Zone:

4 used : 0 misused : 0 redefined : 1 missing

Street or public area that prohibits motor vehicles, and other auto-free areas. Access by vehicles might be allowed part time.

Icon: More intuitive/less abstract? Hard to do for a linear symbol. Is there an existing symbology somewhere?

Off-road Path

Mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, etc.

This should help cover a lot of the outdoor activities people keep inventing local icons for.

Icon: There is a cartographic symbol for off-road paths.

On-road Bike Path/Bridge:

1 used : 4 missing

these paths are usually painted but are on the same street level as car traffic. You can designate a favorite green scenic route of your own.

Icon: More intuitive/less abstract? Hard to do for a linear symbol. Is there an existing symbology somewhere?

Separate Bike Path/Bridge:

2 used : 5 missing

separated from cars by curb, barricade, etc. On bridges, often shared with pedestrians. Green Maps can be merged with existing bike/trail/ commuting maps or simply mention good places to obtain these other maps.

Icon: More intuitive/less abstract? Hard to do for a linear symbol. Is there an existing symbology somewhere? Perhaps bike tire-tracks.

Secure Bicycle Parking:

12 used : 2 misused

attended parking area, or recommended area with adequate lighting and a bike rack.

Icon: This icon can be very hard to distinguish at small sizes...

Best Walks:

19 used : 1 misused : 1 redefined : 1 missing

follow a path around an especially interesting area. Walks can be established or recommended by the Green Map team but should be non-intrusive to sensitive areas. Icon can be used to designate a running path through a natural area.


7 used

water-based transport system for passengers and freight. Can be a very refreshing and efficient way to commute and travel. Can include water-taxis, which run on an as-needed basis.

Major Public Transportation Station:

18 used : 1.5 misused : 2.5 redefined

multi-modal transit hub served by more than one kind of public transport system, central station or depot for transit passengers. Often has other services available.

Icon: While relatively abstract this icon works relatively well though it should perhaps be revisited. If preserved, versions in other orientations (the eight of a compass rose) might be useful for indicating the direction of service.

Local Public Transportation Station:

20 used : 1 misused

subway, bus or trolley stop. Bus stops may be too numerous to map, except in proximity to remote green sites.

Icon: While relatively abstract this icon works relatively well though it should perhaps be revisited. If preserved, versions in other orientations (the eight of a compass rose) might be useful for indicating the direction of service.

Light Rail Transit:

7 used : 1 misused : 1 redefined

Trolley stop. Transportation by eco-efficient light rail runs through these areas.

The focus of public-transit symbols should probably be service- capacity/range/speed and not mode. Were one to break things down by mode buses and subways are necessary to round out the list; ferry symbols are OK since many also allow cars, which is a special service indication.

Suggested Icons: If kept and other modes added

Park & Ride Facility:

5 used : 0 misused : 1 redefined

parking lot for cars (or bikes) with a convenient public transport connection. Sometimes Park & Rides are subsidized or free to encourage drivers not to bring cars into the center of the city.

Icon: Use , it contains the basic P with additional context.

Alternative Vehicle Fueling (Alternative Fule / Vehicle Station):

8 used!!

Where you can top up an alternative fuel vehicle (including electric). Could be a place to buy or research alternative fuel vehicles and find out more about the true environmental costs of producing fuel.

Icon: A gas-pump nozzle with the earth or a leaf, as a drop coming out

Alternative Vehicle Site:

Car or ride-sharing programs. !!

Icon: v2 "Alternative Vehicle/Fuel Station" icon

Park & Charge Facility:

4 used

your electric vehicle can be re-charged by solar power (or the conventional power grid) while parking here.

Merged into "Alternative Vehicle Fueling"


Environmental Justice:

Often, certain populations coincide with unfavorable land uses; which came first is often a chicken-and-egg problem and specific to an individual site. These icons are a simple means of indicating various forms of equity.

Icons: Based on Eugene Turner's application of Chernoff faces. Create two sets, one as outlines of faces, and the other as filled in.

Protest Point:

12 used : 2 misused

place where people consistently gather or post messages to respond to official political actions and decisions. May not all be related directly to environment--can be social, historic or cultural protest point.

Icon: Kyoto fist or a banner similar to

Social/o-Political Resource:

25 used : 1 misused : 2 redefined

service or office that helps individuals or society in general to develop environmentally sound policies and practices. Might include alternative and governmental agencies, grassroots organizations, trade organizations and political parties, non-profit social services, environmental justice and native rights organizations.

Significant Organization:

18 used : 0 misused : 1 redefined : 1 missing

might be socially responsible non-profit or educational group, club or advocacy group that contributes to the local environment in important ways.

Icon: The current symbol has many pre-existing meanings.

Significant Building:

13 used : 1 misused

of great importance, generally, to the community. Sites that impart a sense of place. Co-housing, natural buildings and schools, or Buildings with historic, cultural, architectural value could also be included.

Historical Feature:

25 used

edifice, institution, monument or unmarked historical area with special significance to the city's environment and sense of place.

How is this unique vs. say Significant Building?!

Traditional Way of Life:

6 used

may refer to indigenous, pioneer or migrated peoples' traditions. Might not be assimilated into prevailing culture. May be resources for learning about or visiting people living in traditional, more ecologically self-sufficient ways.

Cultural Site:

30 used : 1 misused : 2 redefined

these contribute to the city's environment and sense of place in many important ways. Non-institutional resources, monuments and places, even temporary events (monthly swap meet, annual eco-fair) may be included

How is this unique?!!

Museum / Institution:

22 used : 0 misused : 1 redefined

these are either entirely about nature's interconnections with urban culture, or frequently include the environment in programs and exhibitions. You may opt to limit your selection to those featuring sustainable ways of living, social responsibility or other locally relevant criteria.

Environmental School:

28 used : 5 misused : 1 redefined

can range from intensive programs within a regular school system or university, to places offering one-time environmental workshops and lectures to the public. Could be a hands-on learning center or technical school.


Art Spot:

30 used : 1 miused : 3 redefined

ecologically oriented artworks, may include earthworks or public artor performance art. Could>/b> be resources for making eco art, information on events or schools related to environmental art.

Community Center:

16 used : 2 misused

place where clubs, meetings and social gatherings involving the whole community are held. May be a formalized community center, or one established though common use.

Cultural Performance (World Music):

10 used : 2 misused

May include world music venues such as; folk, participatory, ethnic, improvisation, classical, jazz, as interpreted locally. A place to listen to and play music

Icon: The traditional Greek comedy/drama masks

Eco-spiritual Site:

16 used : 1 misused

places to contemplate nature or spiritual pursuit, may be an organized religion's sanctuary or environmental program, or a profoundly beautiful place, even an old cemetery or 'oasis of calm' in a busy area.

This is far beyond the scope of an environmental map. It is highly subjective, and onc could argue that most any nature spot qualifies, making this redundant.

Alternative Health Resource:

15 used

alternative medicine source, herbal, homeopathic, eastern, etc. Spas, apothecaries, clinics, health clubs and yoga are possible examples.

This is far beyond the scope of an environmental map.


This section of symbols is slightly different in that they are not features themselves, but provide additional information about features. These symbols should typically be used in the site details listing of a map.

Wheelchair Accessible:

8 used

there are ramps, rails and other facilities provided for those in wheelchairs. Use this icon to encourage exploration of nature trails and park areas.

Child Friendly eco-Site:

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an environmentally-engaging area that is safe and accessible to children. Our thanks to kids in Calgary, Canada for designing this icon.

Senior Friendly Site:

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an area where people with walking difficulties will enjoy being with nature. May include areas where one can rest as well as walk.

Call First / Appointment Needed:

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site where an appointment is needed to visit. Sometimes indicates sites with irregular or few open hours, so map users aren't disappointed upon arrival.

Icon: A calendar or planner? Page from a desktop page-a-day calendar?

Information Resources by Phone:

1 used

place you can call for resources, references and other eco information. Can be a hotline with recorded messages, or knowledgeable source you can query directly.

Icon: v2 "Call First / Appointment Needed" icon

Information Resources Online:

5 used : 0 misused: 1 redefined

web addresses (or links) to good local information on the internet, or at an info kiosk.

Eco-information Site:

16 used : 1.5 misused : .5 redfined

place to visit or write to where you get environmental information of all kinds. They direct you towards sustainable and conserving green sites, services and resources.

Icon: Similar to , a leaf with the universal (Roman) i for information imposed

Green Tour Available:

1 used

tour that takes place indoors or out, detailing the environmental features at the site and how to protect them. Sometimes these are self-guided, but usually there is a tour leader.

Tours can reasonably be expected to be available at any mapped site if approriate for the venue.

Icon: No apple!

Dog Run:

9 used : 0 misused : 1 redefined : 1 missing

designated place where dogs can be taken off their leashes, usually in city parks. Often the only place you can see animals romping and frolicking in dense cities.

These are symbols which have not yet been categorized, therefore their status as modified or removed is also unknown.

Invasive Species:

Exotic species are often transplanted, and while most tend to behave many spread unchecked by the constraints of their native lands e.g; cane toads in Australia, zebra mussles in the Great Lakes, or caulerpa taxifolia in the Mediterranean

Icon: The head of an alien?


Icon: There is already an international symbol.

Genetically Modified Organisms:

Toxic Chemical Storage:

3 used

where large quantities of toxic chemicals are stored in an approved manner, prior to industrial or other use. Often reported to the government, where records can be obtained. In some countries, this information is available on the web, current and up to date.

Oil Spill:

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may be old or recent. Sometimes, the spilled oil comes from an "accident" but it can also be a chronic problem along oil pipelines that feed the electricity grid and re-fueling areas at airports. Also includes pipeline leaks, gas station spillage and improper disposal of motor oil.

Merged with "Toxic Releases"

Toxic Chemical Releases:

7 used : 1 misused

may represent an acute one-time event, or a chronic problem at an industrial or infrastructure site. May be from a neighborhood dry cleaner or coal-burning school furnace not generally recognized as a problem. In some countries, this information is available on the web.

Icon: Too similar to water pollution, perhaps `Cuba''s icon or the v2 "Oil Spill" icon

Hazardous Waste Generator:

0 used

often industrial or infrastructure-related sources of waste that need special handling and disposal. You can elect to show those on a governmental list. Calgary points out that it is difficult to define limits to criteria. Could be broad range - e.g; dry cleaners, hospitals, universities, military sites, photo labs, etc.

Hazardous Waste Facility:

4 used

place that collects, transports and recycles hazardous materials, including industrial chemicals and household hazardous wastes such as pesticides, oil paints, batteries, some cleaning supplies, etc.

Solid Waste Transfer Station:

4 used

where refuse is transferred from one kind of transportation to another, for more efficient movement to landfill, recycling processor or other resource/waste facility. Some transfer stations offer places to exchange useful items, separate recyclables or dispose of household toxics.

Waste Dump:

7 used : 0 misused : 2 redefined

illegal, improperly lined and maintained place where garbage is dumped. Older dumps can be a source of hazardous drainage.

Renewable Technology Site:

7 used : 0 misused : 0 redefined : 1 missing

for example, hydrogen mines, biomass generation, or an industrial ecology park, research, related agencies and perhaps funding sources. Technology focused on zero emissions and sustainability.

Bio-remediation site:

7 used : 2 misused : 1 redefined

places where natural methods of recovery such as plants, animals, reconstructed wetlands and moving water are used to clean up contaminated or polluted waterways. A growing number of techniques are being used in cities to use natural systems to purify tainted areas.

Environmental Center:

14 used : 3 misused

may be in a city park, school or stand by itself. Comes in all sizes and may be concerned with a single issue or provide an overview. Of interest to adults and/or children.

Eco-tourist Destination:

5 used : 2 misused

Sites of special interest to visitors, or people who want to engage in hometown eco-tourism. May include green hotels or other ecologically sensitive accommodations, eco-efficient ways to get in and out of the city and other sustainable practices for visitors.

Scientific/Research Site:

11 used : .5 misused : .5 redefined

center for natural sciences, environmental studies and related sciences and technologies. May be indoors or out.

Pollution Monitoring Station:

2 used : 0 misused : 0 redefined : 1 missing

Major monitoring station of tide, flood, or weather or public display of the level of pollutants present in the air or water.

Icon: A thermometer


Most of these are just (media) specific "Significant Habitat", though "Amphibians" and "Pollinators" are especially important.

Coastal Habitat:

8 used

places along the water's edge where wildlife congregates. Wildlife of any kind may be in or above the water, on the shore or on adjacent land.

Marine Habitat:

2 used

includes fresh and salt water ecosystems, and the many kinds of wildlife that flourish in the water.

Amphibian Habitat:

1 used

area that is a good viewing site for frogs, newts and other amphibious creatures, which are indicators of a pond or wetland's health status.


Undersung, and sought by Fairfield County, CT, US

Wildlife Rehabilitation / Information Center:

6 used : 1 misused : 1 redefined

where injured or orphaned wild animals are nursed back to health before they are returned to the wild. Volunteers are often needed to help care for and inform the public about the wildlife.

Zoo and Wildlife Center:

7 used

place to see animals collected and cared for by humans. Animals may not be indigenous; they may come from the wild or may have been born in the zoo. Some zoos have habitats for breeding endangered species, and other biodiversity programs. May be small "petting" zoo for children or large scale wildlife park.

Farm Animals:

7 used : 1 misused : 0 redefined : 1 missing

some cities have gardens with chickens and rabbits, urban farms or even a barn for police horses. Calgary suggests: consider how the animals are kept and treated, as well as what they are used for, before you put them on the map.

Special Tree:

17 used : 0 misused : 0 redefined : 1 missing

tree that has historical importance, or is especially beautiful, large, old or rare. May be old growth, virgin (never cut by humans), ancient, sacred or medicinal trees or native plants. Could be indoors.

Merge into "Seasonal Foliage"??

Spring Blossoms:

8 used

are especially beautiful and bountiful in this area.

Autumn Leaves:

5 used

are especially beautiful and bountiful in this area.

Climate and Currents:

2 used : 1 misused

may be used to indicate prevailing direction, waterfalls or dramatic water, perhaps difficult currents for canoeists/kayakers. Can be used in areas with micro-climate, too.

Wilderness Site / Information:

2 used

place where nature is still really natural, or information sources on how to experience the wilderness while protecting it.


3 used

areas set aside for sleeping outdoors, using tents or other camping equipment. Care is to be taken not to destroy the surrounding habitat in wilderness areas.

Snow Activity Site:

3 used

place where you can have a great time building snowmen, skating, cross-country skiing, sledding etc., without damaging the environment. Can indicate snowy landscapes that are especially beautiful. Not for use where clearcutting of forests for ski resorts or snowmobiles have caused destruction.

Green Maps Available Here:

6 used

place where Green Maps can be found, if known. This Icon can be added to an internet Map after publication. It brings extra attention and visits to the site, but may require mapping locations that do not fit in with 'green' criteria. Icon can indicate a large kiosk or display of the Green Map.

Special or Supporter's Site:

5 used

can be used to note sites that are extremely important, or have supported your efforts to create your Green Map--either financially, or with information or other assistance.