IAN Symbol Libraries

  • You have produced a fantastic product that will greatly aid in fostering scientific communication.

    James Miller
    Center for Urban Affairs & Community Services, North Carolina State University
  • Great work. I work as Natural Resource Manager and it was of tremendous use for me. I congratulate all those who accomplished such a nice work.

    daudzai
    IAN discussion forum
  • I just came across these today and have to give you a big hurrah! It is great to see such great work, a great community and free on top of it.

    bupaje
    IAN discussion forum
  • The IAN online diagram creator is such a great program. Our lab just did a workshop on using it last week, and I think all our papers and gov documents will now include IAN diagrams.

    Peter Macreadie
    University of Technology Sydney
  • We greatly appreciate the work that Tracey put into developing our custom symbols and the effort she and her colleagues have put into creating the IAN symbol library. The library is an invaluable resource to anyone with an interest in creating conceptual environmental models.

    Patricia Dalyander
    US Army Corp of Engineers
  • A remarkable resource. Their web site is articulate and informative. The symbols download is ... excellent material.

    James Herrmann
    Adobe Illustrator Exchange
  • I have to say that it's a beautiful collection that is so useful, and appropriate to many of my professional projects.

    SCync
    Photoshop Gurus forum
  • this is awesome for graphics and for science. great stuff, thanks!

    Cana_Crosby
    Adobe Illustrator Exchange
  • You have to see these to believe them.

    Welles
    Photoshop Gurus forum
  • Thanks for creating the [online diagram creator]. I know of a lot of teachers who are very excited about using it. Great job!

    Mick Law
    Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management
  • The symbols are fantastic. We're working on some water pollution issues in Panama at the canal, and the library will make our graphic communication so clear. On the graphic I'm working on right now, everyone in class could tell that it was covering siltation without any written words. Hopefully it will cross cultural and language barriers as effectively! Thank you and pass on our appreciation.

    Kimberly True
    Cal Poly Pomona MLA Graduate Student, Department of Landscape Architecture
  • Great guys for putting up all these wonderful symbols for free. Almost unbelievable that these days some one puts up this really good stuff for FREE!! Thank you very much!

    Bingo Haley
    Adobe Illustrator Exchange
  • The IAN symbol libraries rock.  Without them, I never would have wanted to try to make my own conceptual diagram.

    Chris
    IAN discussion forum
  • When we found the IAN symbol library, we recognized immediately this resource was exactly what we were looking for. The library is easy to use and includes images across a diverse sampling of environmental areas, including plants, animals, ecosystems, human uses, and beyond: and all of the symbols do an excellent job of clearly representing their subjects.

    Patricia Dalyander
    US Army Corp of Engineers
  • Holy smokes...this is quite the library....probably worth $300+ on the open market...thanks for sharing...

    vstromriderak
    Adobe Illustrator Exchange
  • The free Adobe Illustrator symbol library for ecological sciences is extremely useful!!  Lots of useful graphics which we can use for the project. Kudos to the people at UMD who put up that web site and the resources within!!

    Brian Wee
    American Institute of Biological Sciences
  • The work they have done is amazing... [the symbols] are amazingly good and allow full manipulation in Corel to change details.

    Mario Lebrato
    IFM-GEOMAR, Leibniz Institute of Marine Science, Kiel, Germany
  • These resources are absolutely brilliant!

    Nancy Dudek
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE BOMB! AND it's free!! Excellent work! Thanks!

    becca9999
    Adobe Illustrator Exchange

The IAN symbol libraries currently contain 2782 custom made vector symbols designed specifically for enhancing science communication products with diagrammatic representations of complex processes.

Our aim is to develop a global symbol language for scientists, resource managers, community groups, and environmentalists worldwide. Currently downloaded by 84470 users in 243 countries and 50 U.S. states.

The IAN/UMCES Symbol and Image Libraries are provided completely cost and royalty free for any use, with attribution, except redistribution or sales. Required Attribution: Courtesy of the Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (ian.umces.edu/symbols/).

If you need to use our images without the attribution (credit), you can purchase non-attribution rights to many of our images - browse or search the images from the downloads tab, or the image library and click the Add to Cart button.

To be notified of new symbols, subscribe to our RSS feed.




Download

Download Symbols

To download symbols you need to have an account with our image library (registration is completely free and only takes a minute).

If you don't have an account already, please take a second to register. Once you have activated your account you will be able to return to this page and log in.

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Instructions

INSTALLATION

Illustrator (AI) format (requires Adobe Illustrator CS2 or better)

  1. Extract zip file

  2. Copy "IAN Symbols" folder to:
    C:/Program Files/Adobe/Illustrator X/Presets/[language]/Symbols

    OR for Mac users:
    Applications/Adobe/Illustrator X/Presets/[language]/Symbols

  3. Copy the IAN Swatches folder to your ...Presets/[language]/Swatches folder.

  • Prior to CS4, there was no language folder inside the Presets folder
  • If you try to open these files directly, they will appear blank (see "Accessing the Libraries" below)
  • You may need to restart Illustrator for it to load the libraries
  • If you are not familiar with Illustrator symbol palettes, see the "Accessing the Libraries" section below

SVG format (requires vector software such as Inkscape (free), Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw)

The zip package can be unzipped anywhere. Then simply open each file directly.

If you have downloaded a custom set of symbols and want to convert them to an Illustrator symbol palette:

  1. Download the SVG version (Structure: Palettes)
  2. Unzip
  3. Open the svg file in Illustrator
  4. CTRL+A (select all)
  5. Delete (delete symbols from the canvas)
  6. Save As > Illustrator (AI) into the Presets/Symbols folder

PNG format (can be imported into MS PowerPoint and Word, or edited with Adobe Photoshop etc)

The zip package can be unzipped anywhere. The symbols in this version are raster which is great for quick use in documents, but they are not easily editable or scalable.

 

ACCESSING THE LIBRARIES

SVG and PNG format

Simply open each file directly in your graphics software.


Illustrator (AI) format

The symbols are accessed via Window > Symbol Libraries > IAN Symbols.

NOTE: If you open the illustrator files directly, they will appear blank.

For further information on using the symbol libraries with Illustrator, please see the interactive multimedia tutorial.

accessing the libraries screenshot

 

EDITING A SYMBOL

When opening a symbol from the SVG or AI palette versions, or via the image library import in the online diagrammer, you need to break the link to the symbol before it can be edited.

  • Illustrator: Right click > Break Link to Symbol
  • Inkscape: Edit > Clone > Unlink Clone
  • Online Diagrammer: Click the chain icon, entitled "Break link to reference element"

You may also need to ungroup the symbol (often a few times) to be able to access all elements in the symbol.

 

NEED HELP?

Our discussion forum is an excellent resource for getting help.

 

ILLUSTRATOR SYMBOL LIBRARY TUTORIAL

This interactive tutorial takes you through the process of using the IAN Symbol Libraries with Adobe Illustrator, including a step-by-step guide to creating a conceptual diagram.

screenshot of flash tutorial

Resources

Resources, Tools & Tutorials

Online Conceptual Diagram Creator

This online vector editor has direct access to the IAN symbols, allowing you to create conceptual diagrams in your browser for free without the need for specialized vector software. To access the symbols, click the IAN button. You will need an account with our image library (free). Works in all modern browsers - Internet Explorer users will need IE9, or you can install the Chrome Frame Plugin for older versions. Works in Firefox, Safari and Chrome (recent versions of Chrome have a bug that renders our symbols black - please use another browser until this is resolved).


IAN Online Conceptual Diagram Creator: Demo

This demo takes users through the process of using the IAN Online Conceptual Diagram Creator to create a conceptual diagram with the IAN Symbol Libraries (~10 mins).


IAN Image Library

The IAN Image Library contains all our symbols in SVG format, as well as thousands of high resolution photos. You can search through our symbols by keyword and download only those symbols you need. If you don't have any vector software, the image library also provides links from each symbol so you can edit them in our online diagram creator and then export to the raster PNG format.


Symbol Library Catalog (PDF)

This PDF contains thumbnails of all the IAN Symbols split across the 56 albums. It is searchable by symbol title and also hyperlinks each thumbnail to the download link for the vector SVG version on the IAN Image Library. A great quick reference guide.


Interactive Online Searchable Spreadsheet

This interactive online spreadsheet provides a searchable interface with details of all the symbols in our library, including category and album location, title, thumbnail, keywords, and a direct link to each symbol in the IAN Image Library for quick symbol download or online editing.


Symbol Libraries Excel Catalog

This Excel file contains details of all the symbols in our library, including category and album location, title, keywords, and a direct link to the symbol on the IAN Image Library for quick symbol download or online editing.


Illustrator Conceptual Diagram Tutorial

This detailed tutorial takes the user through the complete construction of a conceptual diagram using the IAN Symbol Libraries and Adobe Illustrator. The interactive nature of this tutorial means that users actually click through all the processes required as if they were using Illustrator. Takes approximately 10 mins to complete.


Illustrator Symbol Creation Tutorial

This detailed tutorial takes the user through the complete construction of a vector symbol my tracing a photograph in Adobe Illustrator. The interactive nature of this tutorial means that users actually click through all the processes required as if they were using Illustrator. Takes approximately 20 mins to complete.


Symbol Creation Service

Need a symbol we don't already have? Please visit our discussion forum to make requests. Photos or drawings and descriptions of objects should be attached to your message and we will create a symbol which will be posted back on the forum. They will also be incorporated into the Symbol Libraries in future updates. Please note, this is a completely free service designed to produce universally applicable symbols to enhance science communication. Please consider this when making requests.


Symbol Contributions Forum

Want to contribute to the IAN Symbol Libraries? Upload your Illustrator symbols to our discussion forum for others to download. They will also be included in the next update of the symbol libraries. You will be given credit as a contributor to the libraries in the documentation.


Discussion Forum

The IAN Conceptual Diagram Symbol Libraries Discussion Forum has four boards for obtaining technical assistance, making Symbol Creation Service requests, contributing symbols to the libraries, and posting diagrams for review (good conceptual diagrams take many iterations with feedback and input from many people).


Conceptual Diagrams: A tool for science communication

Includes an introduction to the use of conceptual diagrams and a tutorial for using the IAN Symbol Libraries with Adobe Illustrator.


Conceptual Diagrams for Science Communication

This webpage highlights the use of conceptual diagrams in effective science communication.


Tools for effective science communication
Bill Dennison and Tim Carruthers

Bill Dennison and Tim Carruthers presented a Webinar on tools for science communication for the Ecosystem Based Management Tools Network. Bill was also presenting to a live audience at the State of the Hudson River Watershed Conference in Hyde Park, NY. The web audience included participants from 23 US states and 12 countries, and was followed by a lively discussion on methods and approaches to science communication.


Conceptual Diagrams: Tools for Science Communication

Conceptual diagrams are an excellent means of providing synthesis, visualization, and appropriate context to science communication, an essential component of environmental problem solving. The creation of conceptual diagrams provides an interface for engagement of various stakeholders, including scientists, managers, and wider public partners. This newsletter discusses how symbols form a visual language, the difference between models and diagrams, how conceptual diagrams fit many applications, and how you can use IAN's symbol libraries to make your own conceptual diagram.


Conceptual diagrams: tools for science communication

This poster details the use of conceptual diagrams in effective science communication. It was presented at the International Riversymposium 2004 in Brisbane, Australia. Effective scientific communication requires synthesis, visualization and appropriate context. Conceptual diagrams, or ‘thought drawings’, are an excellent means of providing these requirements. A conceptual diagram uses symbols to convey the essential attributes of a system.


Explaining our Catchment

Conceptual diagrams are science communication tools that aim to communicate complex ideas about systems and processes in a simple, visual way. This education resource prepared by the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management, through their "Water: Learn it for Life" program, provides teachers with a detailed lesson plans to take their students through the story of a river to identify the positive and negative features that most influence the health of the waterway. The lesson culminates in the students producing a conceptual diagram using the IAN Online Diagram Creator.


Testimonials

  • You have produced a fantastic product that will greatly aid in fostering scientific communication.
    James Miller - Center for Urban Affairs & Community Services, North Carolina State University
  • Great work. I work as Natural Resource Manager and it was of tremendous use for me. I congratulate all those who accomplished such a nice work.
    daudzai - IAN discussion forum
  • I just came across these today and have to give you a big hurrah! It is great to see such great work, a great community and free on top of it.
    bupaje - IAN discussion forum
  • The IAN online diagram creator is such a great program. Our lab just did a workshop on using it last week, and I think all our papers and gov documents will now include IAN diagrams.
    Peter Macreadie - University of Technology Sydney
  • We greatly appreciate the work that Tracey put into developing our custom symbols and the effort she and her colleagues have put into creating the IAN symbol library. The library is an invaluable resource to anyone with an interest in creating conceptual environmental models.
    Patricia Dalyander - US Army Corp of Engineers
  • A remarkable resource. Their web site is articulate and informative. The symbols download is ... excellent material.
    James Herrmann - Adobe Illustrator Exchange
  • I have to say that it's a beautiful collection that is so useful, and appropriate to many of my professional projects.
    SCync - Photoshop Gurus forum
  • this is awesome for graphics and for science. great stuff, thanks!
    Cana_Crosby - Adobe Illustrator Exchange
  • You have to see these to believe them.
    Welles - Photoshop Gurus forum
  • Thanks for creating the [online diagram creator]. I know of a lot of teachers who are very excited about using it. Great job!
    Mick Law - Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management
  • The symbols are fantastic. We're working on some water pollution issues in Panama at the canal, and the library will make our graphic communication so clear. On the graphic I'm working on right now, everyone in class could tell that it was covering siltation without any written words. Hopefully it will cross cultural and language barriers as effectively! Thank you and pass on our appreciation.
    Kimberly True - Cal Poly Pomona MLA Graduate Student, Department of Landscape Architecture
  • Great guys for putting up all these wonderful symbols for free. Almost unbelievable that these days some one puts up this really good stuff for FREE!! Thank you very much!
    Bingo Haley - Adobe Illustrator Exchange
  • The IAN symbol libraries rock.  Without them, I never would have wanted to try to make my own conceptual diagram.
    Chris - IAN discussion forum
  • When we found the IAN symbol library, we recognized immediately this resource was exactly what we were looking for. The library is easy to use and includes images across a diverse sampling of environmental areas, including plants, animals, ecosystems, human uses, and beyond: and all of the symbols do an excellent job of clearly representing their subjects.
    Patricia Dalyander - US Army Corp of Engineers
  • Holy smokes...this is quite the library....probably worth $300+ on the open market...thanks for sharing...
    vstromriderak - Adobe Illustrator Exchange
  • The free Adobe Illustrator symbol library for ecological sciences is extremely useful!!  Lots of useful graphics which we can use for the project. Kudos to the people at UMD who put up that web site and the resources within!!
    Brian Wee - American Institute of Biological Sciences
  • The work they have done is amazing... [the symbols] are amazingly good and allow full manipulation in Corel to change details.
    Mario Lebrato - IFM-GEOMAR, Leibniz Institute of Marine Science, Kiel, Germany
  • These resources are absolutely brilliant!
    Nancy Dudek - Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE BOMB! AND it's free!! Excellent work! Thanks!
    becca9999 - Adobe Illustrator Exchange

Help

If you are having problems with the libraries and you can't find the answer in our Instructions, please search our discussion forum. If you can't find a solution, post a new topic and we'll do our best to help.

We'd also love to hear any suggestions you might have for us.

FAQ

Why does the Illustrator version appear blank?
The Illustrator version is created especially to work with the symbol palette functionality and therefore you can't simply open the files. You need to copy the unzipped files into a special directory within your Illustrator installation and access the symbols through Illustrator's symbol palettes. For more details on this, see the instructions.

What software do I need to use the symbols?
To use the Illustrator (AI) version you need CS2 or better. For the SVG version, any vector program capable of opening SVG files — Inkscape is a great free option. For the PNG version, almost any graphics software can open this format. You can even import directly into programs like MS Word and PowerPoint. NB the PNG version is raster and therefore not easily editable or scalable (without loss of quality).

What if I don't have any vector software?
You can always use our free online vector diagram creator to work with our symbols.

Why can't I log in? it says I am banned.
If you find yourself banned from logging in, make sure you have an account with our image/symbol libraries and you are not trying to use a discussion forum login. Wait 10 mins for the ban to be lifted, then use the "Forgot Password" link to reset your password. When you receive the email, make careful note of both the username and password. Use CTRL+C and CTRL+V to copy and paste the password to avoid any issues with the letter "O" verses zero "0" and the letter "l" versus the number "1" etc.

What happened to the automatic installer?
The automatic installer no longer exists — there were too many versions of Illustrator and too many operating systems to make this a functional option anymore. Manual installation of the Illustrator (AI) version is very simple and it doesn't bloat your computer with unncessary registry entries.

How do I edit a symbol?
To edit a symbol in Illustrator, right click on it and select "Break link to symbol", then right click again and "Ungroup" — in some cases you may need to do this a few times to access all paths. If you are using Inkscape with the SVG palette version, select the symbol then Edit > Clone > Unlink Clone, then ungroup as necessary. If you are using the individual files version, just ungroup.

Contribute

Contribute to the IAN Symbol Libraries

If you have found the IAN Symbol Libraries to be useful, please consider giving something back. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Use the ShareThis link above to spread the word about our libraries via Facebook, Twitter, or any of the othe available social media sites.
  • Submit a new symbol through our Symbol Contributions Forum
  • Browse through our Symbol Creation Service Forum and take the time to create a symbol that someone has requested.

All those who contribute will be listed in the acknowledgements section of the About tab. Your name and company will also be added to the SVG metadata of each symbol you create.

Thanks for your support!

Usage

With Attribution - completely free
The IAN/UMCES Symbol and Image Libraries are provided completely cost and royalty free for any use, with attribution, except redistribution or sales.

Required Attribution: Courtesy of the Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (ian.umces.edu/symbols/).

Without Attribution
If you need to use our images without the attribution (credit), you can purchase non-attribution rights to many of our images - browse or search the images from the downloads tab, or the image library and click the Add to Cart button.

About

Acknowledgements:

The IAN symbol libraries have been developed by many contributors:

Tracey Saxby (1613), Lucy Van Essen-Fishman (261), Kim Kraeer (261), Jane Thomas (193), Diana Kleine (162), Dieter Tracey (122), Kate Boicourt (118), Jane Hawkey (111), Catherine Collier (69), Joanna Woerner (59), Kate Moore (54), Jason C. Fisher (30), Jan Tilden (22), Alexandra Fries (15), Caroline Wicks (11), Lana Heydon (11), Tim Carruthers (10), Tracey Saxby (10), Ian Hewson (9), Chip Chenery (8), Jane Thomas (6), Christine Thurber (4), Adrian Jones (3), Catherine Ward (3), Sara Klips (2), Dvorak (2), Sander Scheffers (2), Tina Kister (2), Catherine Ward (1), Brianne Walsh (1), Jane Hawkey and Kate Moore (1), Jane Hawkey (1), Kris Beckert (1), Charlene Afu (1), Trisann Bambico (1), Amber O'Reilly (1), (1).

From a variety of institutions, agencies, and companies:

Integration and Application Network, Marine Botany UQ, James Cook University, Moreton Bay Waterways and Catchments Partnership, Coastal CRC, University of California Los Angeles, Department of Water Western Australia, Water and Rivers Commission, Healthy Waterways Partnership, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Diponegoro University Indonesia, QLD Department of Environment and Resource Management, University of Queensland, University of Southern California, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network Australia, IAN, UMCES, University of Hawaii, Moreton Bay Waterways Catchment Partnership, USGS, UMCES Integration and Application Network, Kahuku High and Intermediate School.

We would especially like to thank the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and the US Army Corps of Engineers who have helped to fund development of the IAN Symbol Libraries. Also, the Marine Botany Group at The University of Queensland, and the Healthy Waterways Campaign, Australia who pioneered many of the symbols.

Packard Foundation Logo USACE Logo marbot logo heathly waterways logo

History:

The IAN Symbol Libraries have had several public releases since 2003. Since the release of v6.0 in 2011, the libraries are now constantly updated, so users can always download all the symbols whenever they visit our site. They can also use the "new symbols" option to only download those symbols published since their last download. See our version history for more details.