Icons Composer

The Icon composer was initially developed for military symbols (military TrueType™ fonts from Major Tom Mouat at www.mapsymbs.com), but has now been extended for other applications such as Disaster Response Map Symbols (DRMS)  You can select any True Type font on the computer (such as the mapping fonts from ESRI if you have any Arc products loaded).

This icon composer can be accessed:

Military Unit Symbols are composed of three parts added to the base symbol:
  • Unit designation, written to the left of the symbol (D in this symbol)
  • Symbol, a single "character". If the font has zero length characters in the correct character slots, it can also be colored (green here) and have a unit size appended (the | for company in this symbol).
  • Parent designation, written to right of the symbol (44 in this symbol).
Menu commands
  • Close: close form.
  • Symbol to clipboard: copies the symbol in the upper right as a bitmap to the clipboard.
  • Save to file: save the symbol in the upper right as a JPG, GIF, or BMP graphics file.  Save to \mapdata\icons, and you can use the symbol for plotting databases.
  • Font: Pick font for the unit and parent. The font name, point size, color, and bold/no bold will be applied.  
  • Options:
    • Military 0-width fonts: these allow overprinting of multiple symbols, and are used for the unit size.
    • Large font samples: You have a choice for two sizes for the font samples on the left. With the small size, all symbols appear. With the large size, you must scroll to see all the characters, but it is easier to distinguish characters.
    • Show naval symbols
    • Show air symbols
  • Multiple icons: this can be used to create a number of icons from a database (Create unit icons menu choice from the edit option).
  • Help: display this help topic.

Other controls

  • Select tab to pick different font. Switching to an air or sea unit disables the unit size radio buttons. Switching to another font disables color fill. Reset them from the options menu if you are sure you font will correctly support them.  The tabs show military tabs from Major Tom Mouat.  If you pick the "Other" tab, you can pick any True Type font.
  • Select symbol by double clicking in the grid which shows all symbols in the font. Some symbols are unused, and display a rectangular box.
  • Select unit size with radio buttons. Select none for Air and Sea units for which this does not apply.
  • Select unit designation (text which appears to the left of the symbol).
  • Select parent unit (text which appears to the right of the symbol)
  • Select size of the text (unit and parent) and the symbol.  Because of scaling inconsistencies with Windows, some symbol sizes do not work well.  Experiment with the size until the symbol looks good--a single step or down can make a big difference.
  • Select whether unit is filled with color with the radio buttons.
  • Select color for unit fill.


Icons on DEM reflectance map
Icons on DRG (scanned map)

Icons for KML and Google Earth export.

Other potential True Type fonts to use:

Last revision 8/18/2015