National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Create Incident Maps and Digital Products

GISS Workflow Diagram: Create Incident Maps and Digital Products

Create Incident Maps and Digital Products – Repeat as Necessary

  1. Create or Update Incident Map(s).
    1. Use an existing Master Project or open the Pro Project Template and Save As to create a new Master Project per GeoOps.
    2. Repair path of Event layer file(s)  to point to the Master Incident GDB.
    3. Add base maps and ancillary datasets to map.
    4. Create a layout or make a copy of a provided layout template for the desired map product.
    5. Apply definition queries to display only the Event Features appropriate for the intended map audience.
    6. Use dynamic labeling where applicable and create annotation as necessary.
    7. Ensure all essential map elements are present and correct (STANDL SGD).
    8. Export Geospatial PDF map per GeoOps standards.
  2. Create and share public web products.
GIS Workflow, explained below

Figure 1.Create Incident Maps and Digital Products
(click image to open larger)


General Map Guidelines

The maps presented in this section are not all-inclusive, only maps that have specific processes or analysis are listed. The most common maps requested of a GISS are listed in the NWCG Standards for Geospatial Operations (GeoOps), PMS 936, Map Product Standards Section. For uncommon products, the desired elements are typically provided by the person requesting the map through the Situation Unit Leader (SITL). If not, the GISS should request additional guidance.

Other Procedural considerations include:

  • The SITL (or equivalent) decides which maps to produce and approves final versions.
  • The SITL directs the use of logos.
  • Placement of fire acreage (and total acreage reported) on maps is at the discretion of the SITL.
  • The GISS should consider the page size and whether color is needed; many maps may need specific formatting and may be reproduced on black and white copy machines.
  • The GISS schedules map production to meet specific deadlines.
  • North arrow may need to be rotated to indicate true north correctly.
  • Drafts: Maps that are for review only may include “DRAFT.”
  • Sensitive information: Maps may need labels defining the sensitivity of the data (e.g., For Official Use Only, Not for Public Distribution or Use).
  • Disclaimers: Maps may include disclaimers if requested or required under delegated authority (e.g., For Reference Only).
  • Proprietary information: Maps should cite the source for any proprietary information.


Timelines for map production are established with the SITL, Planning Section Chief (PSC), or the assigned supervisor. The GISS generates all products on time for scheduled briefings and other meetings. Map definitions should be used as general guidelines; the SITL or PSC has the authority to deviate from the standards


All incident map requests are channeled through the SITL or PSC so they are kept informed of the GISS workload and can help prioritize needs. The SITL or PSC may instruct the GISS to work with the end-user of the map to clarify map product requirements. Final map products are approved by the SITL or PSC (or assigned supervisor) before release, unless otherwise arranged.

Job Aids

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