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Symbolization is the process of linking geographic phenomena (i.e., real-world features and thematic data) to the graphic marks on a map. Everything seen on a map is a graphic mark. Graphic marks include point, line, area, and volumetric symbols. For example, a graphic mark in the shape of a cross might represent a hospital or in the shape of a bold red line might represent a political boundary or in the shape of a blue area might represent a lake. The goal of symbolization is to imbibe the graphic marks with meaning, that is, to have the marks portrayed so that they authentically represent or “stand for” geographic phenomena, such as schools, highways, counties, elevations, and population distributions and densities.

Symbols can be classified as either ...

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