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

Victorian-era magnate, con artist had Rossland connections

New book explores fascinating history of Whitaker Wright

Snowed In Comedy Tour returns to B.C.

Show comes to Trail on Jan. 30

Minor hockey roots preserved in Trail mural

The Trail Minor Hockey Association founded Minor Hockey Week in 1957

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Have you been the target of petty theft in Trail?

Nelson and Kaslo both claimed Queen City status

Place Names: Queen City of the Kootenays

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read