Monday, September 05, 2011

Mapping the Central Texas Wildfires

There are a series of wildfires burning around Central Texas right now, and first and foremost I offer up prayers and condolences to those who have lost property in the fires. It's been a catastrophic weekend.

In response to the fires, I created two news applications involving maps ... one that allows readers to file reports about fires and damage that we can map, and the other that takes Texas Forest Service fire data and maps it.

The reader reports app (Submit fire reports | Mobile friendly form | Map of reports) was really a reworking of a Caspio database I had done last winter to map rolling blackouts by ERCOT. They ended by the time I built it, and I thought we would use it this summer during our record heat, but it appears we've escaped the summer without blackouts (let's hope!) Anyway, it took me about an hour to edit the forms and map to collect fire data instead of blackout data.

Caspio does a good job with their map mashup directions, making user-generated content like this pretty easy.

The second app of Texas Wildfire Incidents was created using a GeoRSS feed from InciWeb, fed into MapChannels and embeded on our page. Unfortunately, the data from the Texas Forest Service is not very comprehensive (descriptions are cut off; geolocations not always there) and the MapChannels map is buggy as a result. I just found that MapChannels site today and that bears some more investigation.

There is definitely more to be done with this story. Will have to dive into it some more tomorrow.

1 comments:

Christian McDonald 6:27 PM  

For the record, the database to report fires or damage turned out to be a dud, and no many folks were interested in contributing. In reality, those folks probably have much more important things to do, like take care of their families and property in a time of peril.

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