This article reports on an empirical study investigating cultural differences in the visuospatial perception and cognition of qualitative point symbols shown on reference maps. We developed two informationally equivalent symbol sets depicted on identical reference maps that were shown to Czech and Chinese map readers. The symbols varied in visual contrast with respect to the base map. Our empirical results suggest the existence of cultural influences on map reading, but not in the predicted direction based on the previous cross-cultural studies. Our findings stress the importance of considering the cultural background of map readers, especially when designing reference maps aimed for global online use.