I'll say right up front. I'm not a big fan of making maps. Not because I don't appreciate a good map, because I do. No, my problem with making maps is that I am no good at it.
Another reason I don't like it is because I hate the idea of making multiple pages to have a usable map of a single building. I'm lazy that way, what can I say? I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that though as to the number of mapping programs available out there. Yes, I got all giddy for the Hex-Gimp script for GIMP a while ago and I do like it a lot.
On the whole though, I find I get myself all excited about mapping out a building or location for something I created, then I remember that I can't draw, I suck at mapping in general, so now I'm bummed again.
Having said all that. IF I am going to map, meaning, I have decided that like it or not, I need a map for this creation, I prefer to draw them by hand. I realize this makes no sense at all since I just got done saying that I can't draw and my suckitude at mapping is legendary. It doesn't matter, I prefer my maps to be hand drawn rather than computer generated.
Yes, computer generated maps look a lot better. They are prettier and clearer. Some even look like hand drawn maps (just clearer and prettier). They still don't "feel" right to me. It's difficult to quantify something "feeling right" but I think you know what I mean.
Working on the ransom dungeon generation section of the OSRIC Wiki lately really got me looking at things. If you want to make maps by had, there are not of lot of resources in the way of symbols and legends to help the new or pitiful map maker in adding details to their dungeons and terrains.
The AD&D 1E Dungeon master Guide has a basic sample map with legend on it that gets you a start, but it is limited pretty much to doors and traps and trapped doors and trap doors. I want to know how to draw a recognizable pit or bed or fireplace, etc.. to indicate at least to other DM's who might make use (or not) of my creations what is exactly what.
So, I did a bit of Googling and located some decent symbols for indoor and outdoor maps to help myself and others get a headstart on our hand-made maps. You can find them on my Wiki-Mage website (link at the top of this page). As I find or make more, I will add them.
Will using these make you a super duper mapper and dungeon creator? Not a chance. That requires actual talent, of which I have none. They can, however, help you make a map that is usable and can be used by others (should they dare attempt to). That's more important than anything else to me when it comes to making a map. will I be able to know what it was i was doing when I made this thing? Will someone else be able to figure it our without a degree in historical languages and hieroglyphics?
I'll stick to hand mapping. I don't have the money to buy the fancy computer generators anyway.