Google unveils new California wildfire map in Search, SOS alerts
San Francisco, Aug 20 (IANS) As the devastating wildfires tore through Northern California, Google on Thursday launched a new wildfire boundary map in Search and Maps SOS alerts to provide deeper insights for areas impacted by an ongoing wildfire.
When people look for things like “wildfire in California” or a specific fire like “Kincade fire” in Search, they will be able to see a wildfire's approximate boundary of the fire, name and location, as well as news articles and helpful resources from local emergency agencies 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,” the company said in a statement.
Google has taken help from satellite data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) GOES constellation of satellites and Google Earth Engine's data analysis capabilities.
It has created a digital polygon – the red boundary shown on the map in Search and Google Maps – that represents the approximate wildfire impact area.
“If multiple large fires are active in the same region, people may see several polygons,” the company said.
A group of fires west of Sacramento, known as the L.N.U. Lightning Complex, doubled in size throughout the day, growing to 124,000 acres and threatening about 25,000 structures after forcing evacuations in Vacaville, California fire officials were quoted as saying in The New York Times.
Google has worked with local agencies to build features that provide critical, accurate information during wildfires.