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California Fires on Google Maps  (View post)

Fran├žois Houste [PersonRank 1]

Tuesday, October 23, 2007
14 years ago3,575 views

Amazing, fire just stops on mexican frontier!

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Wow. What a phenomenally useful use of My Maps.

[put at-character here]Francois: Might not be as ridiculous as it seems. The border would probably make a fairly decent fire break, having been cleared of all trees for the sake of more easily spotting illegal border crossers...

Frank Taylor [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

You can also view the map in Google Earth by clicking on the KML link.

The US Forest Service and NASA have an excellent collection of maps for active fires presented in several formats. Including Google Earth files:

More information including a view of the smoke coming from these fires from space at Google Earth Blog:

chipseo [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

It always amazes me how Google Maps get used. Between that and Google Earth it is an incredible tool.

Yetused [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Also interesting:

The Disaster Information Service. Gives you a whole world map full of things like that.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Google employee Jess Lee (who you might know from the video tutorial for Google Maps) in her blog writes:

<<On Tuesday, we saw a huge increase in traffic on Google Maps. The traffic spike was so large that our servers thought they were being DoS attacked. It turned out that the additional traffic was due to hundreds of thousands of people constantly refreshing maps about the terrible wildfires in Southern California. Several news outlets and individuals had used the My Maps feature to create maps that tracked the spread of the fire>>

The most popular one turned out to be from a small station called KPBS. Jess writes that when Google realized where the traffic originated they got in touch with KPBS, getting their OK to work with them and their data:

<<We added caching and more machines so that the maps would load faster and more reliably, increased the number of items that could be displayed on the map at a single time, and changed the info windows to display "Last updated X min ago" so people would know if the information was recent or not.>>

Jess adds that there were overall 3.5 million page views to the fire reports pages, almost half of them to the KPBS map (though she says the real numbers were actually higher, since some of their caching resulted in underreported numbers).

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