National Wildfire Coordinating Group

RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)

Digital Maps

RT-130 Decorative banner. Group of photos depicting wildland firefighters performing various duties.

Explore digital, geo-referenced topographic maps on mobile devices for use in initial and extended attack. Practice downloading and sharing digital maps on your smartphone or tablet using public domain sites and free applications.
Category: Communications
Core Component(s): Local Topics;
Incident Reviews and Lessons Learned;
Fire and Aviation Operational Safety;
Human Factors, Communication and Decision Making

Estimated Delivery Time: 30 minutes; Video Length: 7:28

 

Intent

Explore digital, geo-referenced topographic maps on mobile devices for use in initial and extended attack. Practice downloading and sharing digital maps on your smartphone or tablet using public domain sites and free applications.

Facilitator Preparation

  • Review the video and module tools prior to presenting.
  • Download and familiarize yourself with all tutorial applications and websites.
  • Review and rehearse procedures demonstrated in the video and module tools.
  • Print or display the module tools for students to reference during the activity and discussion.
  • Guide discussion based on Communication Responsibilities in the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461. Provide copies of the IRPG for students to utilize and answer questions.

Facilitating the Activity and Discussion

  • Show the video.
  • Facilitate small or large group discussion using the activity and discussion questions listed below.
  • Consider playing the video a second time and while students follow the written procedure in the activity.

Activity

To complete this activity, a data connection, (cellular or wi-fi) is required to download required applications, download maps for offline use, and navigate to required websites.

Websites and Applications:

Navigate to each website before proceeding. Consider adding thumbnails for each website on device home screen for ease of navigation.

Download/update each application before proceeding.

  • FSTopo Map Products (Forest Service Primary Base Map Series)
    • This website is from Geospatial Technology and Applications Center (GTAC) and provides access to quadrangle topographic maps that include National Forest lands. This is a free site and does not require a login. Maps from FSTopo Map Products are only available if the targeted area includes National Forest lands.
  • Wildweb
    • This website provides access to large and small incident information, organized by dispatch center. It does not require a login. You may use this site to obtain detailed information prior to arrival at an incident. For this activity, we will use this site to obtain target location coordinates. These coordinates may vary in format dependent upon dispatch center.
  • Avenza Maps
    • This application uses your device GPS location data to enable real-time navigation using geo-referenced PDF maps. Previously downloaded maps are available offline. Navigation with downloaded maps is possible without a data connection. You can complete this activity using Avenza Maps Free Edition, but you will be limited to three offline maps. Avenza Maps Pro enables unlimited offline maps.
  • Google Maps
    • This application is a popular navigation app for mobile devices. In this activity, we will use it to provide an overview of our target incident area and for conversion between coordinate formats.
    • Degrees, Minutes, Seconds format will be copied and pasted into FS Topo Map Products to find target incident location.
    • Decimal Degrees format will be copied and pasted into Avenza Maps to pin target incident location.
  1. Open device home screen to find your thumbnailed websites and applications.
  2. Navigate to Wildcad.net. Select any dispatch center. Copy coordinates for a recent or open incident.
    1. You can use coordinates for any incident located on National Forest lands. Depending on time of year, coordinates for recent or open incidents on National Forest lands maybe difficult to locate. You may need to search multiple dispatch centers to find appropriate incident coordinates.
  3. Open Google Maps. Paste coordinates into search bar and tap Search. Copy coordinates displayed in Degrees, Minutes, Seconds format (e.g., 43°34’55.6” N 115°59’40.6” W).
  4. Navigate to FSTopo Map Products. Paste coordinates from Google Maps into search bar and tap Search. Click in the box with the black dot and the quad map name will appear. Click the arrow to the right of map name. On the next page, click Download PDF. A preview of the selected map will open in another window. Tap the share icon and select Avenza Maps. You may have to select More to see the Avenza Maps icon. Open with Avenza Maps application. Your selected map will complete its download process.
  5. In Avenza Maps application, select your map from the My Maps tab. We will now place a pin using target incident coordinates.
  6. Open Google Maps application. Copy target incident coordinates displayed in Decimal Degree format (e.g., 43.582100, -115.9946000).
  7. Enable wireless sharing on your device. From your device home screen, swipe up for Control Center and tap the icons to turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on both IOS devices. Enable Airdrop sharing by navigating to Settings, then General, then Airdrop. Set to Everyone.
  8. Share your map with pinned location from Avenza Maps using one of the following two methods.
    1. My Maps Tab: Tap the Three Dot icon to the right of your selected map name. Tap Share. Select All Features and Map. Tap Export. Tap Airdrop. Select the target device. Screenshot illustrating instructions of second of two methods on how to share your map with pined location from Avenza Maps.
    2. Map View Tab: Tap Sandwich icon. Tap Share icon. Tap Airdrop. Select All Features and Map. Refer to Click the Multi Taking Three Dot icon, Click Share, Select All Features and Map. Tap Export. Tap Airdrop. Select the target device. Screenshot illustrating instructions of first of two methods on how to share your map with pined location from Avenza Maps.
  9. Congratulations on downloading and sharing your geo-referenced map.

Discussion Questions

  1. What digital map resources are you currently using (e.g., as a crew member, as an IC)?
    1. How do you use these resources when responding to initial attack incidents?
    2. How do these resources change during extended attack?
  2. This module specifically targets IOS devices on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands. What digital map resources are you using to access Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and State Lands?
    1. What lessons can be applied to android devices (e.g., nearby share)?
    2. What lessons can be applied to other land ownerships (state lands, private lands, BLM lands, etc.)? What offline sharing methods are other device users employing, has it been field tested?  
  3. How else might you use digital maps outside of emergency responses?
  4. How will you utilize digital maps to fulfill the Five Communication Responsibilities (brief, debrief, acknowledge and understand messages, communicate hazards to others, ask if you don’t know)?

Resources

Additional Video Information

  • This video is also available as a download (zip file, size 285MB) with the .srt file for closed captioning (you may need to right click and Save As). For information on how to add closed captioning to a video, see this how to page.
  • Note: For Chrome and Firefox, right click the word download and select Save Link As; for IE, right click and select Save Target As.

Print This WFSTAR Module

 

 

 

Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
2023-10-04

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