GIS, or Geographic Information Systems, is a computer mapping system that integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. GIS allows analysts to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts. A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared.

Within the San Diego County Fire Authority, GIS is used in a variety of ways, whether through analyses of response times of emergency vehicles to a particular incident, or for the understanding of how a wildfire might behave under specific topographic conditions. GIS is also used to develop fire map books that are available for first responders, which contain route and address information to aid in the response to an emergency. Map books also display the locations of fire hydrants and other water sources so that firefighters can quickly identify them when suppressing a wildland or structure fire.

Trailer At County Wildland Fire Drill 2015

GIS Emergency Response Unit

In 2008, managers of Fire Services within the County of San Diego, along with their regional partners, recognized the need to acquire a fully outfitted GIS Emergency Response Unit, complete with computing workstations and printing devices in order to provide GIS mapping and operational support to Incident Commanders within an Incident Command Post. The Emergency Response Unit has since been dispatched to several fires since 2008 and has been a proven success in providing critical wildfire information to firefighters working a wildland fire.

Some of the mapping products that are generated during wildfires include:

Briefing Map

IAP (Incident Action Plan) map

Maps for Aviation Operation

Informational maps for the public

Topographic maps

Fire History

Fuels/Vegetation maps

• Maps that incorporate predictive weather patterns and predominant winds

Web-based mapping applications, like the one seen below, can answer important questions including:

  • What agency provides Fire Protection in my neighborhood?
  • Where is the nearest Fire Station?

Use the map below to determine who provides Fire Protection services for your area. Using the search window along the upper right corner, enter your home address, including your city and state (eg. 123 Main Street, San Diego, CA).

You can also click on any part of the map using your mouse button, which will return a popup balloon with Fire Protection Agency information. If you mouse-click over a fire station (shown as a red house), a popup balloon will identify that particular fire station. Be sure to use the zoom tools shown on the left-hand side of the map to zoom in to a particular area. The further in you zoom, a more detailed map will draw that includes roads and parcel boundaries.

Enter an address below (123 Main Street, San Diego, CA)

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