An interactive map of B.C. wildfire conditions. (Neil Johnston)

Interactive map paints B.C. wildfire picture

Vancouver man combines wildfires, tweets and road closures

An enterprising B.C. man has created a one-stop shop for all wildfire information across the province.

Neil Johnston of Vancouver made the interactive map that shows fires, evacuation orders and alerts, highway closures and crowdsourced tweets all together.

RELATED: Wildfires burn 78,000 hectares across B.C.

Johnston, who works at tech company Echosec said that the idea was born out struggling to make sense of all the different information on fires and road closures.

“I grew up in Soda Creek, and had just checked the latest information on [the Emergency Management BC site] and saw that my folks were under an evacuation order,” he said.”My partner and I were trying to find routes that could potentially let us navigate my Mom and Dad to the coast [and] I pretty quickly discovered that it was really hard to correlate the different information sources; active wide fires on one map, road closures on another, and traffic incidents.”

RELATED: Wildfire evacuees frustrated with Red Cross waits

And so a first draft of the map was born. Johnston then got the idea to listen to the radio so he could get a sense of what kinds of questions listeners wanted answered.

“[My company] provided me with access to our ArcGIS Online account and I rebuild the map in that technology,” Johnston said. “One of the biggest requests was for wind direction, so I tried to add that. It’s not perfect, but hopefully it helps. I had the idea of adding drive BC highway cams at about 5:30 this morning, and had that working by about 9.”

VIDEO: Devastating footage from Boston Flats

Having family in rural communities makes Johnston cognizant of the challenges with disseminating information

I think the biggest problem we’ll be running into is that while more and more of this information is being pushed online, a lot of rural BC residents don’t have that access still,” he said. “Which means the onus is on those of us who do, to keep them in the know, by cell and landline, as the situation develops.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kootenay Boundary remains in unusually dangerous avalanche period

Avalanche Canada says it expects snowpack conditions to get better soon

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will use less greenhouse gases.

Nelson council grants short-term rental exemptions

City Hall also allows variance for laneway house

Freezing rain warning in effect for B.C. Southern Interior

Environment Canada issued the freezing rain warning for most of the Southern Interior Tuesday morning

LETTER: Message to dog owners on Mountain Station Trail: Clean up!

Dog owner says she wants to be part of the solution

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Ryan Cooper steals spotlight for Nelson Leafs at KIJHL Prospects Game

Cooper was named the Kootenay Conference’s MVP

Nelson CARES reaches $690,000 fundraising goal

The three-year campaign will help renovate Ward Street Place

Kootenay Music Awards set to go, with changes

There will be new categories, a new voting method, and a new venue

COLUMN: MP Stetski says stop the attack on workers’ pensions

MP Wayne Stetski says not enough is being done to protect Canadians’ pensions

LETTER: Former candidate takes aim over Site C decision

Controversial decision draws criticism

LETTER: A poetic plea for pets from a cat owner

Poetic support for the small pet population

Canada excludes Kinrade from Olympic roster

The Nelson native took part in tryouts for the Winter Games hockey team

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

Most Read