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Is there a universally accepted symbol for the button that shows you where you currently are on a map? The google maps app for smartphone has it.

arrow pointing to button

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    @KristiyanLukanov I've never seen it in anything outside google maps? – Celeritas Jul 7 '16 at 10:07
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Short answer: No.

Long answer: There are a few different ones out there (I only bothered to check 3) and some of them offer more functionality than "find me"; for example iOS also uses that button to switch rotation lock modes, Google also uses it to switch rotation lock as well as tilt angle. - It could be argued that these are different buttons and therefor have different icons.

Here's the sample I collected: enter image description here

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    In UI design, if there is no standard symbol, what to do? – Celeritas Jul 7 '16 at 11:45
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    @Celeritas, In short, you need to design an icon that suits your particular usage. We cannot help you with that as Icon design requests are considered off topic for this forum. – Andrew Martin Jul 7 '16 at 12:08
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    Icons and new methods will always have a learning curve. The best example is traffic signs: They are the most universal icons we have, used around the world, yet you have to actually study them in order to understand what they stand for. The main thing to keep in mind when introducing relatively new icons and actions is to make it stand out in such a way that it can't be confused for a similar action. It's better to expect nothing and learn by experimenting, than to receive an reaction opposite to your expectation. – Tom.K Jul 7 '16 at 13:21
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    I think the google icon gets closest to 'intuitive' - but it misses a trick slightly, if they'd run the 4 lines slightly inside the circle, it would look more like a gunsight crosswires implying 'target' - which is what the 4 existing lines are trying to suggest eg d30y9cdsu7xlg0.cloudfront.net/png/2038-200.png – PhillipW Jul 7 '16 at 14:04
  • @Celeritas That's probably a good UX.SE question in itself, if it hasn't already been asked. – Nate Green Jul 8 '16 at 14:07
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There is No particularly accepted icon for users current location. It's moreover depends on which map/technology user uses. I agree with @Andrew Martin, as he showed those three icons for iOS, Bing and Google.


My Suggestion:

1. Considering you can target your audience

Since it's hard to tell which is more Universal or easily recognized by users in that case better would be:

  • Finding your target audience.

  • Using the same icon used by those Map Provider/Technology. ("same" as I suppose you might be using the API and not developing your own technology)

2. Considering you couldn't know who your audience might be.(Doesn't make much difference)

You can do again two of the follow things:

  • Go for Phone Market Share. Based on the number of users around te world you may be able to know, Android being used more so go for Google map icon.

Image below may not be showing updated share of Mobile Market. It's just for rough Idea

   

enter image description here  

  • Lastly you could go for your custom icon. But this totally depends on how the design is and where you place it.

    You could merge iOS and Google Maps Icon

    Some Examples:

enter image description hereenter image description here

Update: I am just showing you the example, not asking or suggesting you to copy. What i am trying to convey is that you can take the existing as reference.

If you want to use Googles Current Location Icon:

I found that 99% google wouldn't mind you using Current Location Icon. They mind only for following icons/logos related to Map:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

For More... Check USE OF TRADEMARK

Still you want to confirm more. You can ask them for approval here by showing them, where you might be using that icon, if it's copyrighted.

  • Beware! Using icons from another provider in your own map application is likely to be copyright infringement and the companies you will be dealing with are very big! Rather than copying their icons I would suggest you use them as rough guides but make sure yours is different enough to be considered original. – Andrew Martin Jul 7 '16 at 13:48
  • @AndrewMartin I was actually wondering about that. How is it universally used symbols aren't in violation of copyright (I'm very unknowledgeable in this area)? For example how is it that the volume control icon every OS has is the same but isn't copyrighted? – Celeritas Jul 7 '16 at 21:30
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    @Celeritas, Some are released as public domain from the start, some later in their life when it becomes impossible to control their use, some are 'borrowed' from other media/products, some are released under what is now known as creative commons licences... The problem with reusing an icon is not really the icon itself but the functionality that it represents - a 'locate me' icon will always represent patented technologies an functionality so will be fiercely protected - but a speaker icon could represent speakers, sound, volume, audio channels...etc which is much more difficult to police. – Andrew Martin Jul 8 '16 at 6:51
  • @Celeritas, Updated the answer for you. I guess this might help you. – divy3993 Jul 8 '16 at 8:27
  • @divy3993 - You should also note that you can only use Google's location icons if you're using them in conjunction with the Google Maps API. If you are using them with your own or a third party mapping solution then you will most certainly be infringing copyright. – Andrew Martin Jul 8 '16 at 8:38

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