||This paper describes the design, implementation, and evaluation of pen input recognition systems that are suited for so-called interactive maps. Such systems provide the possibility to enter handwriting, drawings, sketches and other modes of pen input. Typically, interactive maps are used to annotate objects or mark situations that are depicted on the display of video walls, handhelds, PDAs, or tablet PCs. Our research explores the possibility of employing interactive maps for crisis management systems, which require robust and effective communication of, e.g., the location of objects, the kind of incidents, or the indication of route alternatives. The design process described here is a mix of “best practices” for building perceptive systems, combining research in pattern recognition, human factors, and human-computer interaction. Using this approach, comprising data collection and annotation, feature extraction, and the design of domain-specific recognition technology, a decrease in error rates is achieved from 9.3% to 4.0%.