Mapping the Victorian fires – Some important lessons for Europe ?

Nobody can have failed to be moved by the tragedy of the Bush fires which have been devastating Victoria, Australia this weekend. As reported by Official Google Australia Blog the Google Geo team in Sydney worked fast yesterday to get a real-time map of the extent of the fires available online and is has seen extensive use over the last 24 hours.

victoriafires

A crucial part to making this happen beyond the skill and dedication of the Google team in Sydney, has been the system put in place by State of Victoria Country Fire Authority (CFA). This largely volunteer fire brigade have put in place an excellent web based system including a RSS feed of incidents which is used to produce the map.

This is a great example for all public sector providers of information.. provide your information in a form that allows reuse via different channels, not only does this spread the flow of information to as wide an audience as possible, it also reduces the direct traffic to your site during major events.

And for UK readers it is interesting to note that although protected by our familiar friend Copyright, these feeds are available and indeed designed for personal and non-commercial use. 

Written and submitted from the Google Office, London.

One comment

  1. Duncan Garratt

    It is good to see Internet mapping being used to disseminate vital information to the public in an emergency. Keeping the map accurate with such fast moving fires must have been a real challenge. In terms of emergencies and disasters has Google UK got a team that could spring into action if an emergency arose? There might be case for a good Government contract here, as the more conventional web based GIS systems may not be geared up to handle large volumes of hits etc.

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