This paper presents a framework in which a versatile visualization system can be developed to symbolically represent database records. Such a system can handle special visualization needs of individual applications without reprogramming the system. In addition to the regular visualization components, this framework has a rule component, which contains a rule interpreter, a rule base and a graphics base. The rules in the rule base and graphical templates in the graphics base capture application-specific knowledge about the data. The rule interpreter uses the rules to select and place graphical symbols to represent the dat records. Only the rules and templates need to be switched to adapt such a visualization system to different applications. A rule-based database visualization system has been built based on the framework. As a test of the system, it is adapted to draw collision diagram for the Ohio Department of Transportation, which has a database of traffic accident records. Each symbol in a collision diagram is graphical depiction of an accident. Rules and templates are defined so that the symbols can reveal vehicle direction, point of impact and other related information about the accident.