Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Are there any standard, publicly available symbol sets for crime mapping? What are their intended applications and their strengths and weaknesses?

share|improve this question
Any reason for the downvote? Just curious--I hope this question was sufficiently clear, on topic, and didn't offend or confuse anybody, but if it did, I would appreciate knowing how to improve future questions. – whuber Mar 8 '11 at 20:36
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Another publicly available symbology set for crime mapping applications is the Crime Mapping Symbology (CMS).

Intended Applications

The Crime Mapping Symbology (CMS) was created to be used in a web mapping environment.
The use of PNGs also allows for many desktop mapping applications to import the symbols for use in a non web environment.


  • The symbol set has been created in PNG format to allow for a broad range of software platforms.

  • The symbols are intended to utilize simple intuitive pictograms that require little training to become familiar with their representations.

  • The symbols are designed to be highly visible against a wide range of vector and raster based backgrounds.


  • The symbols were designed to meet the specific needs for the police forces in Pierce County, Washington rather than the overall crime mapping community. While it was designed to meet the specific needs a particular organization those needs are also shared by many other organizations which might find value in this symbol set.
  • The use of letters as modifiers are based on English words which might be limiting to Non-English based applications.
share|improve this answer
Darin, thank you for being responsive and quickly adpating your contributions to suit the style used here. Welcome to :) – matt wilkie Mar 7 '11 at 23:19
+1 nice response. – whuber Mar 7 '11 at 23:25
It's hard to select one "best" response because all are valid and of interest. This one deserves credit for most clearly laying out strengths and weaknesses. – whuber Mar 10 '11 at 18:49

Not a Standard but possible the nearest to it:

But ESRI have re-vamped symbol sets and crime mapping has been added.

Application: ESRI, Web Mapping

Strengths - Freely available

Weakness - not defined - too general

Types (Homicide, Narcotics, Misdemeanor, Felony is US based - it doesn't exist in European/UK law Murder, Manslaughter, Drug, Serious Crime is)

*Not a lawyer/solicitor/barrister

share|improve this answer
+1 The analysis of weaknesses is helpful. – whuber Mar 7 '11 at 21:37
The icons also look slightly cartoon-like. I think more sombre colors should be used when describing crime. – djq Mar 7 '11 at 22:00

In the US there is a Homeland Security Standard - some of my colleagues have discussed it in an AAG paper (PDF) last year.

share|improve this answer
Thanks. It seems like the work is unfinished. Or are you referring to the ANSI standard symbols? Are any of these symbol sets available to the public anywhere? – whuber Mar 7 '11 at 21:44
See for the full set. – iant Mar 7 '11 at 21:50
or more precisely: – matt wilkie Mar 7 '11 at 23:16

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.