Google launched a new wildfire boundary map in Google Search and Google Maps SOS alerts in the U.S. to provide deeper insights for areas impacted by an ongoing wildfire, like a growing wildfire, knowing exactly where a blaze is underway and how to avoid it is critical.
Google uses satellite data to create a wildfire boundary map, so people will see the approximate size and location right on their phone and desktop.
In the recent Apple, Pine Gulch, and Grizzly fires, Google identified that the wildfires were rapidly expanding, and dry conditions exacerbated the fire, putting thousands of people at risk. So Google has launched SOS alerts, with the latest boundary map, on Google Search and Google Maps. So having situations like these, you can get high-quality information at your fingertips.
“Last year, we piloted this feature in Search for major California wildfires to confirm it was a useful tool for first responders, emergency management personnel, and the community. We collaborated with organizations, like the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and Boulder’s Office of Emergency Management, to gather expert recommendations on wildfire preparedness and response. Their feedback throughout our 2019 pilot helped identify what information is most useful during emergency situations.“
Connecting people to critical information during active wildfires
“When people look for things like “wildfire in California” or specific fire like “Kincade fire” in Google Search, they will be able to see a wildfire’s approximate boundary of the fire, name, and location, as well as a news article and helpful resources from a local emergency in the SOS alert.”
“On Google Maps, people will have access to the same details, including the fire boundary, and receive warnings if they’re approaching an active blaze. If someone is exploring an area near a wildfire on Google Maps, they’ll get an ambient alert that will point them to the latest information.”
“With satellite data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES constellation of satellite and Google Earth Engine’s data analysis capabilities, it will be able to show the size of a wildfire in near real-time, with data being refreshed roughly every hour. NOAA’s satellites include infrared and optical sensors optimized for detecting “hot spots” or large wildfires on the Earth’s surface. Google can run computations on this data Earth Engine to identify the affected area.”
From there, Google created a digital polygon using data from NOAA’s GOES satellites and Google Earth Engine. In the below picture the red boundary shown on the map in Search and Google Maps, this will represent the approximate wildfire impact area. If multiple large files are active in the same region, people may see several polygons. To learn more about how Google analyzes and visualizes wildfire data from satellites please visit Medium blog.”
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