New map symbols to help foreigners find their way
the-japan-news.com -- Jan 14
The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) has decided to design new map symbols that are easier for foreigners to understand in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

GSI will design symbols for 18 facilities that are frequented by tourists or that can serve as key sites during emergencies. These include hotels, convenience stores, police stations and hospitals. The symbols are expected to be used on maps targeting foreigners such as in guidebooks and mapping applications for smartphones. The organization will hear public comments until February before officially deciding on the designs.

An expert panel passed out questionnaires to about 1,000 people to garner opinions. Respondents included visitors to the Sensoji temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo, embassy officials living in Tokyo and foreign students. Based on the survey, GSI created rough designs for the symbols.

To increase the designs' clarity to foreign visitors, GSI decided to follow two rules: The new symbols should correspond to existing pictograms on information boards and signs found in cities, and remain visible on maps even at the small size of about 3 millimeters.

News source: the-japan-news.com
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