Designing Effective Legends and Layouts with a Focus on Nigerian Topographic Maps

Felicia O. Akinyemi, P. M. Kibora, P. Aborishade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Most mapping research efforts currently focus on the content of maps and the platform used. By examining layout (the spatial arrangement of various map elements) and legends (an example of marginal map information) in topographic maps, this study complements other studies on map content and use. A map's legend, sometimes known as a "key," enables the reader to decipher the meanings of the marks and forms that make up the map's content. The layout style and legend used in many topographic map series in Africa were adopted from colonial maps - for example, Nigeria's topographic maps are reminiscent of British colonial maps - and thus post-independence topographic maps reflect the legacies of colonial mapping. This article describes the design of a layout and legend created, using a digital workflow based on the existing analogue legend, for the Nigerian 1:50,000 topographic map series. Classes of vegetation and transportation features depicted on both the old legend and the proposed new legend were compared to illustrate the enhancements achieved in the latter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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