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Designing Map Symbols for Efficient Visualization of Spatial Information and the Process of Cartographic Communication in Crisis Situations – Initial Research, Requirements and Guidelines

Ana KUVEŽDIĆ DIVJAK, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Geodesy, Kačićeva 26, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

Recent crisis situations in different parts of the world have revealed various shortcomings in existing technologies and policies for efficient crisis management. In the field of cartography, they showed a lack of guidelines, standards and map symbols to design maps adapted to crisis management. Map symbols are required to display objects, phenomena and actions specific to management of crisis situations on paper maps and in digital environment of geoinformation systems. Therefore, the development of a comprehensive, carefully designed and generally accepted set of map symbols specially customized for maps and activities in crises is of great importance.

This paper provides an overview of results of an initial research on existing map symbols for crisis management conducted in Croatia, Europe and worldwide. Different approaches (or lack thereof) developed among various national and international organizations for response in crisis situations show there is still a long way to a unique cartographic approach to crisis management. Therefore, this paper discusses general rules, requirements and guidelines for graphic design of map symbols for efficient visualization of spatial information and the process of cartographic communication in crisis situations, as well as evaluation methods for measuring their recognition.

Keywords: map symbols, cartographic communication, crisis management

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