Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Project maps

Guide for creating maps for project web pages

Web maps

Figure 1: Example project map. Download a vector version of this map
A map examble showing a closure, marked in red, with two detour routes marked with blue and green.

Project maps should be easy to quickly understand. Only essential information to understanding the basics of projects should be included. The objective of these maps is to show drivers where the project is located, where they can drive, and where they can't. More detailed maps can be used deeper in the site for those wanting additional information about the project(s).

The information on this page will help ensure that web maps are consistent in look, easy to understand and easier to produce.

Colors

Figure 2: Sample color options for one or more detours.
Examples color scenarios for road closures with up to four detours and road closures with construction areas with up to four detours marked.

When multiple detours are used on a map it is important to choose colors that are distinctly different. Figure 3 shows how these colors are perceived by different and varying levels of color impairments.

Figure 2 shows color options for maps with one, two or three detours for maps with closures and construction and up to four detours for maps with closures only.

Remember: Always use red for closures and orange for construction.

Color accessibility

Color should never be the only point of differentiation. A changing the weight of the line or making a dashed line will make lines easier to differentiate and maps easier to understand.

Varying degrees of color blindness

The different ways colors are perceived by individuals makes choosing a color palette challenging. For simple maps, red, orange and blue are colors that are easy to differentiate. Complicated maps with four colors or more should be designed carefully, using figure three as a color comparison reference.

Figure 3: Perceived color values for varying levels of color blindness.
Perceived color values for the colors above as seen by individuals with varying levels of color blindness; Deuteranopia (green deficiency), Protanopia (red deficiency), Tritanopia (blue deficiency) and grayscale.

Typography

Figure 4: Map typography.
Font size comparison with Arial Regular, Arial Narrow Bold and Regular and Times NBew Roman Regular at 10.5 point, 13 point and 15.2 point sizes.

Font families should be limited to

  • Brandon Grotesque
  • Calibri (Brandon Grotesque alternative)
  • Times New Roman

Bold, Black, Narrow, Italic and other font variations should be used to differentiate map content and to create an appropriate hierarchy.

Road labels

Abbreviations should be used to shorten road labels when symbols aren't used or available.

  • Avenue = Ave
  • Street = St
  • Pine Lane = Pine Ln
  • County Road 11 = CR 11
  • Highway 12 = Hwy 12
  • Pine Parkway = Pine Pkwy
  • Grand Boulevard = Grand Blvd

Font size

Figure 5: Font size reference chart.
Font size comparison with Arial Regular, Arial Narrow Bold and Regular and Times NBew Roman Regular at 10.5 point, 13 point and 15.2 point sizes.

Type on the web appears smaller than when printed. When creating maps intended for the web, the fonts will need to be larger. The default paragraph text size on the MnDOT website is 13.6 pt. It is best to keep fonts as large as possible without over crowding map content.

Legend

The legend should include:

  1. A title that includes the highway(s) and/or area the project is located
  2. Construction/closure/detour marker information
  3. Scale (when necessary)
  4. North arrow (either in legend or elsewhere on map)

Symbols

Figure 6: Map symbols.
Font size comparison with Arial Regular, Arial Narrow Bold and Regular and Times NBew Roman Regular at 10.5 point, 13 point and 15.2 point sizes.

Symbols should be used consistently to make maps easier to understand.

Map symbols

  • Road labels
    Highway labels should use shields in the shape of real life signs, but be limited in color to black and white (white fill with a black stroke and black numbers). Street, Avenue, Drive, etc. labels should be text, use the same font as the numerals on the highway shields and be abbreviated (see Road Labels in the Typography section above).
    • Highways should never be labeled as trunk highways or state aid highways unless absolutely necessary to the understanding of the map.
  • Roads
    Roads should be differentiated when necessary. Highways should only be black, dark gray or gray (from the color chart above). Note: Round caps and corners should be used to soften the look of maps and help prevent jagged edges and digital rendering flaws.
  • Rail
    Rail lines should be symbolized by a line with cross hatches and always be black or the road color.
  • City
    Cities and towns relevant to the project or for location reference should be marked by a black disc with a white border or the city land area should be marked with a solid fill.
  • County boundary
    County boundaries should always be marked with a thin dashed line to not be confused with roads or rail lines.
  • District boundary
    MnDOT district boundaries should only be marked when relevant to the project and should always be a solid MnDOT blue line.
  • State boundary
    The state boundary should always be a solid black line.

Project symbols

  • Highway project
    Highway projects should be marked with a stroke wider than the highway stroke. Red should be used for road closures and orange should be the primary color for project locations. Dashed lines can be used for increased differentiation between projects, construction locations and detours.
  • Bridge project
    Bridge projects should either be marked like highway projects, by a disc or with a ring, depending on the scale of the map.