Challenges for Map Symbol Standardization in Crisis Management

Proceedings of the 7th International ISCRAM Conference, May 2010, Seattle, WA

Anthony C. Robinson, Robert E. Roth, and Alan M. MacEachren

“A wide range of local, regional, and federal authorities will generate maps to help respond to and recover from a disaster. It is essential that map users in an emergency situation can readily understand what they are seeing on these maps. Standardizing map symbology is one mechanism for ensuring that geospatial information is interpretable during an emergency situation, but creating an effective map symbol standard is a complex and evolving task. Here we present preliminary results from research into the application of the ANSI 415-2006 INCITS Homeland Security Map Symbol Standard, a point symbol standard intended to support emergency management mapping for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This standard has so far not been widely adopted across the full range of DHS missions, and we elaborate on key issues and challenges that should be accounted for when developing future map symbol standards for crisis management.”