A Good Map Shows the Way

The design challenge: To create a clear picture of the area.

If there is a single visual element central to a wayfinding program, it is the park or facility map. At a park’s entrance, a trailhead, or a campground, a well-designed map—posted or digital—orients, guides, and directs visitors.

Every park is different. The surroundings, features, and size of the park, trail, or preserves impact the final design. They also determine the number of maps needed (showing, for example, detail, features, or area enlargements).

Good mapping shows visitors the way and may identify facilities and points of interest, differentiate between pedestrian paths and trails and vehicular traffic, as well as identify historical sites or special features. Often, they point out safety conditions, when appropriate. Maps may also include trail waypoints so that the maps correspond to marked locations along a trail. The design challenge is to create a clear picture of the area that helps visitors feel comfortable in the environment.

For all maps, we gather relevant GIS data (shape files) from local, state, and federal resources. We also use GPS and other sources (Google, Bing, Open Street Maps, etc.) to check maps against existing features and conditions so that the final maps we create are reliable. Once a map is drafted, a planner from the Terrabilt Design Team or a client representative will compare the design to the actual site conditions. This becomes a picture of the place.

Below are samples of maps designed as part of sign standards programs we've developed. Click image to enlarge.