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Conventions for showing beginnings of side-trails?

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I have some small maps I'm designing where there is one primary walking route that the map is showing. In the area covered there are various side-trails which intersect the route.

Up to this point I have not shown the side-trails, but it has become necessary to show the trail junctions and that there are these other trails leading off to points unknown. There is not room on the map (which is about ten cm wide) to show all the side-trails. They loop around a lot and it would make the map a total sphaghetti mess when the focus is supposed to be on the primary route.

The side trail beginnings are already visually de-emphasized from the primary route.

So I would like to know if there are conventions for showing the first centimeter or two of a side-trail and then using some sort of symbol to show that the trail continues but we are not going to show any more of it.

The approaches I can think of include:

* gradient fade-out of the trail
* an arrowhead
* a jagged (almost Z shaped) line perpendicular to the trail
* a short, straight line perpendicular to the trail
* ellipsis

Thank you/Baudolino

Hans van der Maarel

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I think the best way to do that is using the first option. Setting a gradient on the line to let it fade away as it gets further away from the main trail seems to be a very intuitive way to do this.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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Mike H

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I agree with Hans. Any other option adds visual noise - if they are secondary to the primary trail just let them fade away so the hiker is aware of the intersection alone. An arrow would beg for a piece of text explaining where it leads to.

Michael Hermann
mike [at] purplelizard.com


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