This paper presents a framework for efficient GIS-based visualization, simulation and interaction in the emergency management context. Especially the inclusion of availability, distribution, and comprehensibility of information in emergency situations are preconditions for efficient decision making and emergency response. Time-critical domains such as emergency management demand fast decisions from expert users under stress. Decision-centered visualization (DCV) is an approach to adaptive, interactive visualization at the intersection of knowledge engineering and information visualization that is focused on visualization and simulation in time-critical domains. DCV and the covered graphics- and sketch-based interaction approach are the two building blocks of a comprehensive system concept for time-critical applications like emergency management.