• Part of a roofline shows from one building. Trees with fall color leaves on them fill most of the photo. A lamp-post is near center of the photo.

    Harpers Ferry Center


Maps are not only valuable in helping park visitors find their way, but in explaining historic events such as battles or exploration routes. One map may be worth hundreds of words. As Harpers Ferry Center digitizes park maps they become available for copyright-free use on the NPS Maps section of this website. NPS Maps

Harpers Ferry Center maps are produced in color, often with shaded relief, for printing on high quality dull-coated paper. The maps can be simplified for one-color printing on less expensive paper. Maps can be edited with drawing software (the maps are made using Adobe Illustrator). It is easier to edit the map while it is still in color, then turn it into black-and-white. Spot color, that is one additional color, can be used to highlight features of the map, such as blue for water features, red for roads, or green for trails. Spot color should be used to clarify the focus of the brochure, not for decoration. The maps are made in "layers" which makes it easy to remove or change unneeded portions. Shaded relief and background colors can be deleted for clarity.

Prior to the adoption of the new NPS Graphic Identity Program typefaces, Harpers Ferry Center cartographers used Helvetica Neue—a member of the Helvetica family of typefaces—to label these maps. All new maps use the new NPS-approved type fonts, primarily Adobe Frutiger. If you don’t have this font on your computer, you can replace it with regular Helvetica, but be aware that labels on the map may shift and not appear in their proper location. Adobe Frutiger is available for download by NPS users from the NPS Graphic Identity Program website. Learn more about the NPS Graphic Identity Program

Anything that is not important to the focus of the site bulletin and not needed on the map should be removed. The map can be cropped and resized to highlight certain portions of the park. The type size for some labels can be enlarged if needed. When enlarged, the location of the labels on the map will shift and must be adjusted. Additional labels, symbols, and pictographs can be added as well. Altering maps takes practice and should be done in a consistent manner. NPS maps follow a certain cartographic style that makes them easy to read and recognizable by park visitors; also they fit well in the site bulletin system. Care should be taken to maintain this style. Placement conventions for labels and symbols can be found in "Mapmaking for Parklands" (Information Design, p. 31).

Map, symbols, pictographs, road shields, north arrows, legend boxes, and more are available from the NPS Maps section of this website. Production Tips for NPS Maps are also very helpful. The cartographers at Harpers Ferry Center are happy to talk with you, answer questions, and assist in solving map problems. NPS Maps

The North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) Shaded Relief website has information for advanced computer cartography. NACIS Shaded Relief Homepage »

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