NZGIS4EM Symbology for Emergency Management
Prepared by NZGIS4EM Symbology working group (Fire Emergency NZ, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Land Information NZ, Northland Regional Council, MCDEM, Eagle Technology) on behalf of NZGIS4EM
Waikato REgional Council / NZGIS4EM Chairperson
FENZ/NZGIS4EM symbology working group
Review and draft symbols in consultation with Symbology Working Group.
NZGIS4EM Symbology Working Group
Version 0.1 drafted for consultation with the NZGIS4EM community at the SIG.
Ongoing review and draft symbols in consultation with Symbology Working Group.
NZGIS4EM Symbology Working Group
Version 0.2 draft for consultation with NZGIS4EM committee and technical advisors
NZGIS4EM Symbology Working Group
Version 1.0 is released to the NZGIS4EM community and available for public use
NZGIS4EM Symbology Working Group
A review of the document will be done 6 monthly by the NZGIS4EM symbology working group
In December 2018, this document is intended to be released to the NZGIS4EM community for use/review and consultation. The symbols and documentation are in an early draft stage. All suggestions for changes or new symbols to be added are greatly welcomed. Please provide your feedback by emailing NZGIS4EM@gmail.com.
CDEM Civil Defence Emergency Management
ESRI Environmental Systems Research Institute
FENZ Fire and Emergency New Zealand
GIS Geographic Information Systems
HSWG Homeland Security Working Group
Infographic Graphics used to visually summarise information, data or knowledge
MCDEM Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management
NAPSG National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation
NZGIS4EM New Zealand Geographic Information Systems for Emergency Management
SIG Special Interest Group: Gathering of individuals to discuss a topic of common interest. Usually held in parallel with major conferences.
UNOCHA United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
During 2016 and 2017, a series of major emergencies occurred in New Zealand. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) proved critical to generating and sharing intelligence, but lacked coordination across the country. In 2017, Eagle Technology facilitated a series of New Zealand Geographic Information Systems for Emergency Management (NZGIS4EM) workshops in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Palmerston North. The workshops were led by Paul Doherty, formerly Eagle Technology, now with National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation (NAPSG). A community of practice rapidly formed alongside the workshops, adopting the name NZGIS4EM. An Interim Committee was established, chaired by Derek Phyn from the Waikato Regional Council supported by Kate Waterhouse from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council as Secretary.
The Interim/Elected Committee was intended as a shared and coordinated voice for the use of GIS in Emergency Management across New Zealand. The core roles of the Committee were to advocate, educate, advise and to support, guide, and recommend best practice for GIS and Emergency Management practitioners while ensuring alignment to the principles and purpose of the Coordinated Incident Management System (CIMS). The Committee was not mandated to make decisions on behalf of the NZGIS4EM community or with regards to any products or services. However, the Committee could vote to make recommendations for decisions by a national governance group that was yet to be formalised.
At present the NZGIS4EM community has over 300 members from public, private, academic and charitable sectors. If you are interested in joining, contact Derek Phyn at email@example.com.
A subgroup of interim committee members led by Craig MacAlpine, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), volunteered to form a Working Group to identify or draft a symbol set as the basis for a recommendation of a National Symbology Standard for Emergency Management. This document represents the first step towards developing the symbol set.
The purpose is to draft a set of symbols to form a basis for discussion with the NZGIS4EM community. Version 0.1 was released at the annual NZGIS4EM Special Interest Group (SIG) held on the 20 August, 2018 at the NZ ESRI User Conference (NZEUC) hosted by Eagle technology in Auckland. Feedback from the SIG participants was incorporated into Version 0.2. This version was then reviewed and approved by the NZGIS4EM Committee in November 2018. The symbols are intended for use in information products including maps, reports, dashboards, infographics, and websites.
All suggestions for changes or new symbols to be added are greatly welcomed.
Please provide your feedback by emailing NZGIS4EM@gmail.com.
Use of consistent symbols enhances information exchange, increases shared situational awareness, reduces production time and increases familiarity with standardised information products across the emergency management sector. Standardising the design of information products such as maps is a core requirement to ensuring that information is readily able to be interpreted by all viewers.
Consistent symbols can also indicate that the information presented uses common data and schemas, or a single source of truth. Furthermore, standards support interoperability and integration of data to enable shared information across organisations and operating systems in emergencies.
It is intended that this work on symbology for emergency management may one day form the basis of a recommendation for a National Technical Symbology Standard for Emergency Management, in the first instance sponsored by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) under the CDEM Act 2002. The standard should be regularly reviewed to evolve over time in the context of national and international best practices.
The majority of symbols considered by the NZGIS4EM Symbology Working Group were sourced or adapted from the ANSI INCITS 415-2006 – Homeland Security Mapping Standard – Point Symbology for Emergency Management which is based on the Homeland Security Working Group (HSWG) Version 2.20, released September, 2005. This is in recognition of the current use of these symbols in incident management systems by Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ).
From 2003 onwards, FENZ formerly the New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS), in conjunction with National Rural Fire Authority (NRFA) and Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) worked on a symbol set based on HSWG and symbols sourced from NZFS and NZRA. The resulting symbol set was never formally adopted by these agencies, however, internal use highlighted the value of consistent symbology. Some NZFS and NZRA symbols were adopted into the HSWG symbol set.
The HSWG symbol set has gaps in some symbol categories (NAPSG, 2013). These gaps were seen as an opportunity to start with a relatively open established baseline and place no bounds on possibilities by asking ‘which symbols would emergency management agencies in New Zealand additionally want to include’ alongside identifying ‘which symbols would emergency management agencies in New Zealand want customised to be more recognisable for our national context’? Where an international symbol standard did not meet the requirement, a symbol was customised by Craig MacAlpine, FENZ.
The group acknowledges there are several other symbologies for emergency management currently available or in development in the public domain. The working group have sourced or adapted some symbols from these sets, particularly from National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG). Further symbols will be added and customised following consultation with stakeholders, the NZGIS4EM community, and updates to existing symbologies. For example, later in 2018 a major update is expected of the Emergency Management Spatial Information Network Australia (EMSINA) Australian All Hazards Symbology.
The Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) and the Australia New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC), supported by EMSINA developed the All Hazards Symbology (AHSS) for adoption by emergency management agencies across Australia and New Zealand.
EMSINA have a process for accepting symbology changes and are interested in considering whether there are opportunities for alignment between NZGIS4EM and EMSINA, particularly once EMSINA publish their latest symbology set version. NZGIS4EM are in discussions with EMSINA and plan to review the new EMSINA symbols for adoption when released.
Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) Emergency Management Symbol Sets
Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) has designed emergency management symbols for ArcGIS. There are no restrictions on use. Some public domain symbols are attributed to the Noun Project, which are icons created by the global community.
Homeland Security Mapping Standard (HSWG)
The Symbology Working Group has considered ANSI INCITS 415-2006 – Homeland Security Mapping Standard – Point Symbology for Emergency Management. The group has not yet considered the current standard ANSI INCITS 415-2006 (R2017) Information Technology - Homeland Security Mapping Standard.
National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation
National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that specialises in decision-support technology for public safety and emergency management. The NAPSG symbol set is reviewed and updated frequently. For more detailed information, see NAPSG Overview Document: Incident Symbology – Phase 3. NZGIS4EM are in discussions with NAPSG and plan to review any new NAPSG symbols for adoption when released.
United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)
United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) designed all hazards symbols for use across multiple audiences, including the general public, during disaster and humanitarian relief. The symbols are available for use in the public domain and suggest crediting OCHA whenever possible. They can be downloaded from the Noun Project in any colour required.
Symbols selected by NZGIS4EM
Of 155 draft symbols selected by the NZGIS4EM Symbology Working Group, 51 symbols were customised by FENZ. The remainder were sourced from HSWG (70), NAPSG/UNOCHA (7), NRFA (22) and NZFS (7). Table 1 summarises a selection of existing symbol sets for emergency management.
Table 1. Symbology Sets for Emergency Management
Accept suggestions for new symbols
HSWG/ ANSI INCITS 415
Humanitarian and disaster relief
Humanitarian symbols only
Symbol set The symbol set includes point symbols. Future work will cover lines, polygons and attributes or levels e.g. indicating status.
Shape The shape of the symbol represents categories of symbols
Border ANSI INCITS 415-2006 allows for border colours to change to indicate the extent of damage or level of operation.
Colour All symbols are on a white background to be visible irrespective of the basemap or imagery used. The symbols are designed to be distinctive when printed in either colour or black and white. Where colour elements were added, they did not affect any black and white representation.
Naming Each symbol is named according to its representation and the size of the symbol e.g. Flood_256.png
Format The symbol set is published in Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format at 256 x 256 pixels suitable for printing large A0 to A3 maps for planning and briefing purposes. If a small symbol is required (below 12 point), the category shape can be used as the symbol. For instance, use a diamond to represent an incident.
NOTE - NZGIS4EM symbology working group will consider providing further formats and sizes requested (this will include .svg) after the 6 month review period.
The Emergency Management Symbology for New Zealand is available for download from the NZGIS4EM website, see nzgis4em.wordpress.com.
There will be no restrictions on the use of the symbol set unless restrictions are implied through adoption of an international standard. Refer to page 12 for sources.
The symbol sets for emergency management listed in table 1 are all published in the public domain. This appears preferable to licensing under Creative Commons as all types require attribution in products.
An option for consideration would be offering the symbols created by NZGIS4EM for download from the Noun Project, with a suggestion to attribute NZGIS4EM where possible and notify use and/or feedback via email.
ESRI Emergency Management Symbol Style (2018): esri-styles.maps.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=41f01365fe4f4aee89af5fd817fc97b2
Homelands Security Working Group (2005) Incidents Symbology Reference, Version 2.20, Released September 14: www.fgdc.gov/HSWG/ref_pages/Incidents_ref.htm
O’Rouke, P. (2015) Overview Document: Incident Symbology – Phase 3, National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation in partnership with Ardent Management Consulting: www.nisconsortium.org/portal/resources/bin/Overview_Document:_I_1424817090.pdf
NAPSG Foundation (2018) Symbology: https://napsg-web.s3.amazonaws.com/symbology/index.html#/
The Noun Project (2018) thenounproject.com
NZFS (2005) New Zealand Fire Service Standard Incident & All Hazards Symbology Used by Emergency Services in New Zealand
NZGIS4EM Training Story Map Series (2018): http://arcg.is/2ixzcqV
UNOCHA Humanitarian Icons (2012) reliefweb.int/report/world/world-humanitarian-and-country-icons-2012
Snow & Ice2,6
Fire - Incidents
Private Fire Alarm4
Hazardous Material - Incident International standard not possible to modify this category
Hazardous When Wet1
Temporary Emergency Medical Operation1
Temporary Ambulance Station4
Temporary Fire Station4
Temporary Fire Hydrant1,4
Medical Evacuation Helicopter Station4
Emergency Water Distribution Point4
Emergency Food Distribution Point4
Fire Appliance Urban (AVL status)4
Civil Defence Centre4
Community Led Centre4
Casualty Clearing Point4
Incident Control Point4,3
Ground Support Unit3
Safe Forward Point5
Boat Ramp / Water Access3
Helicopter pad improvised4
Radio Repeater Portable4
Weather Station Portable
Aged Care Facility4
Special Needs Infrastructure4
Water Supply Infrastructure3,4
Energy Facilities Infrastructure4
Natural Gas Facilities4
Hazardous Material Production1
Weather Station Fixed4
Helicopter Landing Site4
Road Closed 4
Partial Open Road / 4WD4
Unaffected by Incident 4
Symbols sourced or adapted from:
1 Homeland Security Working Group (HSWG) Version 2.20, released September, 2005: www.fgdc.gov/HSWG/ref_pages/Incidents_ref.htm
2 NAPSG Foundation (2018) Symbology: napsg-web.s3.amazonaws.com/symbology/index.html#
3 National Rural Fire Authority (NRFA), currently Fire and Emergency New Zealand
4 New Zealand Geographic Information Systems for Emergency Management (NZGIS4EM)
5 New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS), currently Fire and Emergency New Zealand
6 United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA): reliefweb.int/report/world/world-humanitarian-and-country-icons-2012 and thenounproject.com/ochaavmu/collection/ocha-humanitarian-icons