By Tom DeWitte and Tom Coolidge
Maps are one of man’s oldest forms of communication. The oldest known map was created in 25,000 BCE on a mammoth tusk. That would be over 20,000 years before the Sumerians would start writing on clay tablets.
This ancient map is thought to have been a hunting map to tell where to hunt and find food. If this map was not easily understood by our ancient ancestors, they would have starved and died.
So, what makes a map easy to understand? The answer then is the same answer for today; symbology.
Symbology is a language independent way to communicate information on a map. Good symbology can communicate vast amounts of information without a single word or letter.
District Heating and District Cooling Maps
Like our forebears back in the wholly mammoth days, District Heating and District Cooling organizations rely on maps to communicate. District Heating and District Cooling maps need to communicate vast amounts of information. To accomplish this, they require a rich set of symbols which can describe what pipe system components are installed where. That is not easy, as even the simplest pipe system map will have dozens of unique fittings, devices, pipes, and assemblies. To help the District Heating and District Cooling community address this challenge, Esri has recently released a set of symbols created specifically for this industry.
Symbols for District Heating and District Cooling
This set of industry symbols contains over 140 icon-based symbols. These include symbols for chillers, steam traps, expansion joints, heat exchangers and pipe anchors to name a few.
Created to Match Data Model Asset List
These symbols were created to complement the recently released District Heating and Cooling Data Model (DHC2020). This data model was released in December 2020 and is a free download available on Geonet. Each symbol in the symbol set correlates to a unique type of asset defined in the data model.
Created for Digital Maps
These symbols were created with today’s digital maps in mind. When you look at them you will notice that each symbol has a white background shape behind the icon. This was done to improve the visualization of the icon by providing a high color contrast with the icon’s immediate background. It also provides a larger touch screen surface area, to make it easier to select the asset on a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet.
Where can I get these Symbols
The Esri District Heating and Cooling 2021 style file which contains these symbols is available as a free download. You can also access it from the Geonet Industry page for District Heating and Cooling.
Our ancestors relied on symbols on those early mammoth tusk maps to communicate and understand where to find food. Similarly today’s District Heating and District Cooling organizations rely on symbols to create maps to help field staff to find where specific components of the pipe network are located.
Luckily today’s digital maps are available on your smart phone which fits nicely in your pocket. The same cannot be said for our ancestors and their mammoth tusk based maps.
PLEASE NOTE: The postings on this site are our own and don’t necessarily represent Esri’s position, strategies, or opinions.