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Mobile GIS on Wildland Fires

Joshua Tree NP
Tom Patterson

Supporting Link:
Field GIS Provides Timely and Accurate Structural Damage Assessment During Wildfire

The 2001 Viejas wildland fire was the first incident in which the fire perimeter GPS data was collected and displayed in real-time on handheld Pocket PC's using the ESRI ArcPad mapping program. During the next two years we pushed the limits of this application in order to become more productive. For example, during the 2002 Williams Fire we recorded 62 residences, 8 outbuildings and 27 vehicles destroyed or damaged in San Dimas Canyon alone. Each image-hotlinked location was easily displayed on an ArcPad map or ArcView project in just a couple of minutes. In 1999 I completed a similar assignment on the Willow Fire, which destroyed over 60 structures in the San Bernardino National Forest. It took almost three days to collect the data and manually edit the database table to link the individual image of the damaged property with its GPS coordinates. Three years later on the Williams Fire, the Incident Commander and Forest Supervisor were provided with a polished product within the 24 hour deadline given to us to complete our report. This would not have been possible without field GIS technology.
April 08, 2004