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Subject: RE: Announcement WRT FGDC EM Map Symbols Review

All -
As requested during our GIS SC concall today.
[Below is the announcement for the review of the emergency management map symbols that were discussed at the last Coordination Group meeting.  My apologies if you receive this more than once. -Scott McAfee]

Your organization and membership are invited to review a standard set of map symbols.  The symbols are intended for use by the emergency management and first responder communities at the National, State, Local, and Incident Levels.

These symbols were developed through the cooperation of a number of Federal government agencies and the National States Geographic Information Council under the auspices of the Federal Geographic Data Committee's Homeland Security Working Group.  An eventual goal of this project is to have the symbols become an official standard through an accredited standards' organization.

The draft set of symbols are available for review by the community of intended users: emergency managers, first responders, and others involved in disaster, hazard, or incident mapping.

The review period will conclude on January 31, 2004.  After the review period, the comments will be compiled in a report and appropriate changes will be made to the symbols.  We expect the report to be available in the early summer of 2004.  There will likely be another period of public review as part of a formal standardization process.

Please provide comments using the web-based form at:

http://www.fgdc.gov/HSWG (case sensitive).

The review takes about an hour to complete.

- Background -

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, now part of the Department of Homeland Security, began an initiative in 2001 to develop standard map symbols for use in emergency management mapping. The standard is intended primarily to help first responders and emergency managers at the incident and local levels. The resulting symbol set, when completed and endorsed as a standard, will support disaster response and homeland security efforts by reducing the confusion that can arise from unintuitive, ambiguous, and/or inconsistent use of map symbols.

Since mid-2002 the initiative has been developed collaboratively within the Federal Geographic Data Committee's Homeland Security Working Group. A Symbology Subgroup has been very active in defining the symbol set and developing related products. The U.S. Census Bureau has coordinated digital symbol production. Other active members of the group include representatives from the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Department of Energy, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (formerly the National Imagery and Mapping Agency), the National States Geographic Information Council, the National Weather Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The symbology subgroup activities include:

      -  Defining and refining a list of map features relevant to emergency and homeland security incident managers;

      -  Developing a symbol set for these features;

      -  Soliciting feedback from the user community (emergency managers and others);

      -  Evaluating the best collaborative path for accreditation as a standard;

      -  Developing interoperability specifications and a prototype for graphical display through the Open GIS Consortium;

      -  Designing the standard so as to ensure scalability and cross-disciplinary/cross-cultural flexibility.

Additional information about the activities of the Homeland Security Working Group is available at

For more information, please contact:
Scott McAfee (202) 646-3317;
scott.mcafee@dhs.gov  or
Jeff Booth (703) 317-3056;

Scott McAfee
Department of Homeland Security
EP&R/FEMA - Risk Identification Office
500 C Street SW
Washington, DC 20472
(202) 646-3317
fax: (202) 646-2577

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