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Cartographyc symbols organisation methodology

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I am not proffesional cartographist - my primary expertize is software devlopment, but I love mapping and I own GPS for years.

Well, I am involved in making some maps of area I live in for bicyclists together with my frineds in local mountain bikers club. We have simple plan, to explore interesting paths, record them using GPS and us that to draw thematic map of our area showing those trails.

I got to the point that I have to make set of predefined geographic symbols we should use in maps. We are not satisfied with symbols provided by GPS-es, especialy, that we have GPS-es of different makers and they all use very poor symbol sets which are not even compatible symbols.

So, we decided to use our own symbol set. When I started organizing symbols, I realized that it is realy complex job, probably, way beyond my ability to handle it.

As programmer, I am wondering if there is some international map symbols standard, used for digital cartography to establish symbol compatibility? That would help us exchange data with others who also do record trails and waypoints.

Are there some well established rules of organizing symbols? We have now set of symbols we want to use, but anytime we may find out that we need more sybols, so we wolud like to be able to include new symbols in organized manner.

I am not talking about graphics of the signs, but meaning of the signs. For instance, we want to have signs for springs, bridges, camping sites and similar. Our goal is to use standard symbol identification so if map is created in one software and then exported to other software, symbol meanings should stay the same, even if graphical representation is different.

I am now faced with a problem that if I create tracks and waypoints in some cartopgraphy software, lets say Garmin MapSource, then export it as GPX and import to other software, it does not know meaning of waypoints and cannot show proper symbols, meaning valuable information is lost.

I've spent really lot of time rying to find some standardization info about this issue with no success. If there is no standard is anyone with cartography expertise willing to help establishing methodology for creating such standard proposal?

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