Google has greatly expanded the provision of information in the field of forest fires. On Google Maps, you can now see not only a forest fire happening, but also what you can expect from this and how to get to the emergency services.
Not adequately prepared for forest fires
This month, experts said: Our country is ill-prepared for major wildfires. Forest fires are increasing climate the changes. Experts predict that we will have increasingly uncontrollable fires in the future. Unlike other countries, we have much less room to allow these fires to rage quietly. Therefore, additional information facilities are necessary, especially in a country that originally lived with water and not fire.
Forest fire information can also be useful on vacation. Recently, a wildfire broke out in a forest near the Costa del Sol, one of the most popular holiday destinations for the Dutch. Many people had to be evacuated. So it’s easy to be aware of what’s coming your way in your (rental) car in order to choose a different route or pack your bags.
Forest fires on Google Maps
so far Google Maps Always very similar to the streets and buildings. However, now that this is brought under control, Google is looking into how to better serve other regions and regions. Google Maps will be expanded with the option to create an address, if you live in an unaddressed area. Maps also how foliage is. More trees means more cooling, which is important against heat. The new third capability is a more comprehensive way to view wildfires.
It is good that Google Maps is expanded, but the reason for this is not at all positive. Google writes that this new possibility is due to climate change. Forest fires will only increase due to global warming. Google wants to use this feature to make communities safer and more sustainable. The new Wildfire Layer on Maps, which will be rolling out this week. This allows you to view all the major forest fires in the world. Largely intended: wildfires causing evacuations.
With the help of red spots and pins, you can find out where the sources of fire are and how far they have developed. Google uses a range of different things for this information. First, it uses satellites, which allows the world map to be updated hourly. The information is processed by the Google Earth Engine analysis platform. In addition, it uses resources located all over the Internet to gather more information together.
If you click on a forest fire in Google Maps, you will see, among other things, how much space has been burned. You will also find out the percentage of the fire under control. You can also find information about eviction procedures. Finally, you can rely on emergency services links, so that you can immediately call someone if you are in a fire emergency.
Internet connection required
There is one problem: the forest fire map is only updated when you are online. It’s usually something you’re not when you’re driving in these kinds of areas. Moreover, fire often causes power plants or internet towers to get into trouble. We hope that Google will soon find a solution to this.
By the way, in the United States, the function is more extensive. Here you can also see small fires. Makes sense, because in the US in 2020 alone 10,000 homes went out in smoke. An important prospect, which will likely also go to Australia Come. At the moment, there is no plan to make this feature available in the rest of the world. This is a shame, because in Spain, Greece and Portugal, for example, wildfires come in all shapes and sizes. Perhaps the small scale of these countries is the reason why they have not yet participated in the Google position.
Forest fires are not very normal in the Netherlands, but that could change in the future. Plus, when you’re on vacation, you have even more reasons to keep Google Maps handy in your search for cold ice cream. Stay safe!
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