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I produce a lot of maps with inland lakes, rivers and streams overlaid over a dem surface symbolized with a color graduation (green for lows and brown for higher elevations) I also use a semi-transparent shaded relief to enhance the terrain. I have a standard blue color I often used for both lakes and streams but I noticed that sometimes the hydrology does not stand out enough. I experimented with outline for the lakes and with dark and light blues but nothing seems to work for every map.

Can someone recommend a good color/method for symbolizing lakes/streams/rivers?

Is there a generally accepted standard theme for symbolizing lakes/streams/rivers? (Ontario, Canada)

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Are these maps for the web or print maps? – Craig Williams Feb 19 '11 at 6:28
print maps. Very detailed 1:20,000 (m) and larger – Jakub Feb 19 '11 at 15:17

Are there any international standards for map symbology?

That question has good suggestions for map symbols. The accepted answer links to this document on hydrography.

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thanks. I've skimmed trough this document before. Northwestern Ontario in Canada has a very unique hydrology and topography and although I am using similar symbology as the European standard it also does not work well with the underlying surface color ramp. Natural Resources Canada has a similar set of standards but it does not work well with the complex surface I need to display in my maps. (blue color blends visually with some surface colors) – Jakub Feb 19 '11 at 15:31
  • At large scales use contours. These can continue within lakes using a dark blue shade.
  • Try adjusting the transparency based on the size of the lake. A very small feature does not need to be as transparent as a very large feature.
  • Use a slightly lighter color for the outline of the transparency. It is important to remember that the color you ultimately get from a transparency is not what you actually set. Choose an outline that contrasts to the average mix post-transparency rather than the color you actually set.
  • Try adjusting the shade based on the depth, similar to the Crater Lake example at ESRI
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If the greens and browns are dark, then have you tried white? I've certainly seen that before. Otherwise perhaps someone on could help?

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