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Following the tug of the audience from complex to simplified hazard maps at Cascade Range volcanoes

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Author(s): Carolyn L. Driedger, David W. Ramsey, William E. Scott, Lisa M. Faust, Joseph A. Bard, Patti L. Wold

Document Type:
Publisher: Journal of Applied Volcanology
Published Year: 2024
Volume: 13
Number: 4
Pages: 18
DOI Identifier: 10.1186/s13617-024-00142-z
ISBN Identifier:
Keywords: Cascade Range volcanoes Geopark Volcano hazard map Hazard assessment Hazard communication Single Overriding Communication Objective Volcano museum Decision support tools

Volcano-hazard maps are broadly recognized as important tools for forecasting and managing volcanic crises and for disseminating spatial information to authorities and people at risk. As scientists, we might presume that hazards maps can be developed at the time and with the methods of our discretion, yet the co-production of maps with stakeholder groups, who have programmatic needs of their own, can sway the timing, usability, and acceptance of map products.

We examine two volcano hazard map-making efforts by staff at the U.S. Geological Survey. During the 1990s and early 2000s scientists developed a series of hazard assessments and maps with detailed zonations for volcanoes in Washington and Oregon. In 2009, the National Park Service expressed the need for simplified versions of the existing hazard maps for a high-profile visitor center exhibit. This request created an opportunity for scientists to rethink the objectives, scope, content, and map representations of hazards. The primary focus of this article is a discussion of processes used by scientists to distill the most critical information within the official parent maps into a series of simplified maps using criteria specified. We contextualize this project with information about development of the parent maps, public response to the simplified hazard maps, the value of user engagement in mapmaking, and with reference to the abundance of guidance available to the next generation of hazard-mapmakers.

We argue that simplified versions of maps should be developed in tandem with any hazard maps that contain technical complexities, not as a replacement, but as a mechanism to broaden awareness of hazards. We found that when scientists endeavor to design vivid and easy-to-understand maps, people in many professions find uses for them within their organization’s information products, resulting in extensive distribution.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Driedger and others (2024) or (Driedger et al., 2024)

References Citation:
Driedger, C.L., D.W. Ramsey, W.E. Scott, L.M. Faust, J.A. Bard, and P.L. Wold, 2024, Following the tug of the audience from complex to simplified hazard maps at Cascade Range volcanoes: Journal of Applied Volcanology, Vol. 13, No. 4, 18 p., doi: 10.1186/s13617-024-00142-z.