• fort mcmurray, alberta
  • Canada

FireMap / FireReport

On May 3, 2016, a wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The fire spread across almost 590,000 hectares, destroying approximately 2,400 homes and buildings and forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Albertan history.


The Challenge

With residents still evacuated and unable to return to their homes, the immediate need was to understand the extent of the fire damage. Evacuees wanted to know the condition and status of their homes and community. More importantly, they wanted to see the state of their properties for themselves.

We anticipated initial high demand for the tool, and designed FireMap to handle near infinite scale. The application design was kept simple and serverless to ensure a rapid response.

The Solution

FireMap is an agile, open source, cloud-enabled tool. It was created by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Tesera Systems, Pictometry and Better.

Acquiring up-to-date data was an immediate requirement. The project team quickly mobilized, and got planes in the air to collect oblique imagery. Tesera began to create the FireMap viewer and the Fire Reporting tool, using the imagery that provided homeowners with the capability to assess the potential impacts of the wildfire on their homes.

The solution leveraged Amazon Web Services, CloudSearch and API Gateway to create an extremely responsive and flexible API address lookup.

The Result

The Fire Assessment Tool went from concept to implementation within seven days. Homeowners have access to a FireMap featuring a split panel display enabling an assessment of fire damage (2015 pre-fire imagery vs. 2016 post-fire imagery).

Residents are able to easily access the Fire Report tool, which includes 2015 vs. 2016 side by side oblique aerial images (i.e., North, East, South, West and Overhead views). This enables a detailed visual assessment of the condition of properties. Tesera added a place for notes and important contacts to help residents get started with an insurance claim process, if necessary.