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DK Based Wild Fire Fighting GIS Solution Implemented in British Columbia

July 07, 2004

The following article was published in www.GISUser.com (http://www.gisuser.com/content/view/2351/) and describes a woodland fire fighting and emergency response solution which was created from the TatukGIS Developer Kernel by Canadian DK licensed user Emergeo Solutions. This solution was first implemented by the the British Columbia Office of the Fire Commissioner in the summer of 2004. Emergeo and related partners have been working with the DK since May, 2003.

Related items:
Vancouver Tests New Emergency Management Solution


EmerGeo Deployed to Help Fight Fires in B.C

Written by EmerGeo

Tuesday, 06 July 2004

Emergency Mapping Software Purchased by the B.C. Office of the Fire Commissioner Vancouver

The summer of 2003 was the worst ever for forest fires in British Columbia. Abnormally hot, dry weather resulted in over 2,500 wildfire starts over vast areas of the province. The interface fires of last summer destroyed over 334 homes and many businesses, and forced the evacuation of over 45,000 people.

The 2003 Fire Storm once again demonstrated a critical need to improve inter-agency communication by electronically sharing information between government emergency operations centres and with the media. The B.C. Office of the Fire Commissioner has recently purchased an emergency mapping technology called EmerGeo to help with evacuation planning and interagency communications for the 2004 fire season that is well underway in B.C.

The Problem
Imagine that you are working in an Emergency Operations Centre during a major disaster. A wildland fire, chemical spill, or flood event threatens local populations and property. You have the job of defining and communicating areas under evacuation alert and order. Where do you start? If all you have to work with are your trusted road maps and pen, you could start to sketch evacuation areas on maps and then fax these to others that need to know. But exactly what street addresses fall within the areas? How many people are you planning to evacuate in those areas? Are there any special needs populations in those areas that may need help getting out of the area? Are there any hospitals, schools or other critical facilities that will need special attention? And let's not forget that there may be pets or livestock to re-locate, but where do you send them?

Mapping Technology to the Rescue
The EmerGeo mapping software was designed to help answer these questions and allow these evacuation decisions to be documented and communicated much more effectively and efficiently among emergency workers, the public and the media.

EmerGeo allows emergency personnel to retrieve electronic maps of any jurisdiction in Canada. In B.C., information on people (demographics), roads, critical infrastructure, property and other critical data is often stored in multiple government and commercial databases located on different networks.

EmerGeo uses the latest in OpenGIS and internet technology to enable direct access to this map data maintained in multiple mapping systems across the web. EmerGeo brings the base map data together into a single map view to allow emergency personnel to draw and communicate evacuation boundaries, fire perimeters, hazards, personnel and equipment resource locations and other critical emergency response information on top of these base maps. Areas drawn on the map can be queried to quickly generate reports on populations, street addresses, waterways, critical infrastructure and any other map layer impacted by the emergency or disaster. These queries produce reports in Excel spreadsheet format and maps are copy-pasted into documents to enable users to easily incorporate EmerGeo information into their existing Microsoft Office software.

The B.C. Office of the Fire Commissioner is using EmerGeo to enable interoperability among its regional and headquarters operations and with the B.C. Provincial Emergency Program, B.C. Ministry of Forests and other provincial, federal and local agencies involved in evacuation planning and reporting. Many federal, provincial/state and local agencies around the globe are watching B.C. this summer and looking to implement EmerGeo to help them protect people and property from disaster.

To obtain more information on EmerGeo or other emergency management technologies, please contact Mike Morrow, Director of Business Development, at (604) 761-3647 or mmorrow@emergeo.com. Additional information can also be found at www.emergeo.com.