New Map Symbol System for Disaster Management
In the last 10 years Bulgaria was frequently affected by natural and man-made disasters that caused considerable losses. According to the Bulgarian Disaster Management Act (2006) disaster management should be planned at local, regional and national level. Disaster protection is based on plans that include maps such as hazard maps, maps for protection, maps for evacuation planning, etc. Decision-making and cooperation between two or more neighboring municipalities or regions in crisis situation are still rendered difficult because the maps included in the plans differ in scale, colors, map symbols and cartographic design. To improve decision-making process in case of emergency and to reduce the number of human loss and property damages disaster management plans at local and regional level should be supported by detailed thematic maps created in accordance with uniform contents, map symbol system and design. The paper proposes a new symbol system for disaster management that includes a four level hierarchical classification of objects and phenomena according to their type and origin. All objects and phenomena of this classification are divided into five categories: disasters; infrastructure; protection services and infrastructure for protection; affected people and affected infrastructure; operational sites and activities. The symbols of these categories are shown with different background colors and shapes so that they are identifiable. All the symbols have simple but associative design. The new symbol system is used in the design of a series of maps for disaster management at local and regional level.