Interactive Wildfire Maps: Southern California Fires Progress Captured

If you have been paying attention to the news over the last few weeks I’m sure you have heard about the wildfires in California.  What has really interested me is the range of interactive maps that have been put together to monitor these fires.  People in California love their web technology, and this fire has only further shown their innovative uses of technology.

Most of the interactive maps for the fires are built on Google map technology.  This doesn’t take away from their valuable nature. It just shows some of the interesting ways people use this technology.  For nuCloud, these are great ideas for functionality that we want to build into our mapping software.

Southern California Brush Fires Map

This first map is put together by the local ABC station affiliate abc7.  The map shows evacuation stations for both humans and animals along with fire progress and updates on local fire stations.

abc7 Interactive Brush Fire Map

Although above is a screen shot of the map, feel free to explore the full map yourself.

Interactive Wildfire Borders Map

This second map shows borders of the fires.  I originally found out about it through the Los Angeles Times News Blog.

LA Times Interactive Wildfire Map

This map, which can be viewed on the LA Times website, shows the fire parameter, places of interest, details about the fire’s direction, fire expansion and containment, and much more.  I really enjoyed the detail in this map, and it was interesting to follow for a few days as they updated.  The updates were made in a quick and easy format so that any user could keep track.

Fire Photo Map

This next map is another from the Los Angeles Times.  This fire photo map also shows the borders of the fire, but the interesting elements are the cameras around the map which you can click to view photos.

Fire Photo Map

The photos put a whole new perspective on the scene.  They are extremely compelling.  Some include residents watching from the hills as homes burn, animals are evacuated, and firefighters battle the blazes.  When you hear that a picture is worth a thousand words, images like these come to mind.

Southern California Wildfires Time Line Map

This last map put together by the New York Times drills down to let us follow the path of the fires over time and see how they spread.  The fire time line map is extremely compelling.  Over the almost two week extent of the map we can see where the fire is on each day and where it is heading.  For someone living in this area it is a scary warning of how close you may be to extreme danger.

Fire Timeline Map

Map Exploration Takeaways

What I take away from all of these maps is how easy it has to be to create and update them.  These things are valuable for someone looking to setup and maintain relevant maps for an audience, but that’s not the only valuable takeaway from these interactive fire maps.

From a user standpoint they do exactly what you would expect.  It’s also quick and easy to get the information you want.  At the end of the day that is all anyone really asks from any map.  We as map creators just have to remember to keep it that simple for visitors.

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