U.S. Forest Service National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC)

Geospatial is Heating Up

Discovering and integrating wildland fire data for collaborative
awareness and analytics

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An estimated 13,000 fires burn 436,000 acres per year. Predicting, responding to, and recovering from wildland fire is a year-round mission, and requires collaborative geospatial situational awareness. The U.S. Forest Service National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) is the Nation’s support center for logistical and coordination of wildland firefighting.

The Challenge:

Wildland fires ignore all boundaries. Wildland Fire Incident Management Teams and Administrators require accurate, authoritative, organized information that can be shared so that leadership can work together to make informed, data-driven decisions. Unfortunately, NIFC analysts were spending 80% of their time gathering data and maps and 20% of their time delivering dated, static information to users. In order for NIFC to successfully focus on and coordinate shared resources for wildland fire and other incidents, they needed an easy-to-use information sharing platform and visualization tools to access real-time and historic fire data, and the ability to support fire managers in analyzing a broad range of wildfire datasets to improve situational awareness for fire fighters and ground work force.

The Solution:

NT Concepts collaborated with NIFC and their users to develop the Fire Enterprise Geospatial Portal (Fire EGP) solution, a resource that provides services as a unified web presence for situational awareness and data analytics to its users in near real-time. Fire EGP consists of a Fire Globe, a Situational Analysis Viewer, a Risk Dashboard, and a Portal to operationalize intelligence on an enterprise-wide scale. The Fire EGP platform was initially based on a hybrid geospatial architecture that included Esri and Google Geo technologies enhanced by improved business processes, data workflows, and data standards. Today, Fire EGP has evolved to require more scalable, on-demand services. As a result NT Concepts quickly adapted Fire EGP to leverage cloud-based infrastructures as well as support mobile, off-line mapping. Taking advantage of the cloud-based Google Maps Engine (GME), NIFC can greatly reduce operational costs by eliminating expensive hardware, hosting, and configuration requirements. Expanding to support mobile users, NT Concepts and NIFC enable users with off-line, disconnected use of Fire EGP through portable globes and mapping tools. The combined cloud and mobile support for Fire EGP allows NIFC to support a broader base of users who demand accessible and reliable information. Fire EGP fuses and visualizes multiple imagery, geospatial, and dynamic datasets from a central datastore and services with over 78 (and growing) geospatial layers and imagery organized by mission-oriented view states. By accessing the portal, Fire EGP users gain access to all of the content and tools made available in a centralized and reliable environment. Fire EGP users access all of the content through tools and services, making Fire EGP an interoperable solution for multiple missions.

Fire EGP Benefits to NIFC:

Fire EGP operationalizes intelligence and provides analysts and decision makers with powerful visualizations and analytics of wildland fire. Because NIFC is a multi-agency organization and supports a broad base of users from different missions, Fire EGP provides a unified source for authoritative compilation of data sources both spatial and non-spatial to serve a complete operational picture at national, regional and incident level scales. Users now spend less than 20% of their time finding data and more than 80% of their time supporting their objectives with relevant situational awareness and data analytics.

  • Fire EGP users can quickly store and share data during an event and make it immediately available for all to use.
  • Fire EGP administrators and data managers upload, manage, stylize, and publish vector and imagery data as maps that can be exported as OGC-compliant WMS.
  • Maps can be easily published in 2D for Google Maps or in 3D for Google Earth.
  • Using a management portal and dashboard, GME administrators can manage public access to published maps and data.

Fire EGP makes it possible to standardize fire information, pool resources, eliminate redundancies, and effectively and efficiently serve the growing demand for geospatial data from multiple collaborators and responders.


The Fire Enterprise Geospatial Portal (Fire EGP) is a unified web presence that provides NIFC meaningful, measurable methods for rapidly storing and sharing wild land fire analytics and map data with federal, state, and local governments during a wildland fire event.

  • The Fire EGP and Fire Globe can easily support the growing user base with content management and viewing and dissemination platform for accessing and visualizing the wildland fire data.
  • NT Concepts help NIFC implement a Fire EGP as a program of record to significantly reduced data discovery time of relevant, on-time data.
  • Fire EGP helps NIFC provide authoritative content management services to decision makers and analysts in the field.
  • Fire EGP fuses multiple data intelligence sources for data analytics and situational awareness, creating an immersive visualization tool and service.
  • NT Concepts designed, developed and sustains Fire EGP as an integrated solution set and portal service to support multi-agency users with varying roles and missions relating to wild land fire.
Wasted time and resources finding reliable data. Fire EGP anticipates the needs of its users by serving data and visualization tools that provide a complete operational picture of wild land fire in real-time.
Scale on-demand requirement for peak fire season. Fire EGP takes advantage of a data center and cloud-based resources that scale up to peak demands.
Multiple data sources, redundant/overlapping data, incomplete or old data. A content management strategy and standard operating procedure was implemented to identify, manage, and serve authoritative wild land fire data through Fire EGP.
Wild land fire and incident data exists in multiple systems and formats. NT Concepts worked with NIFC to identify and integrate wild land fire incident data, dynamic data, and real-time reporting data into Fire EGP as a centralized and standard interoperable resource.
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