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October 13th, 2011
GIS Underpins Australian Bushfire Prediction Tool

“The UWA Bushfire Simulator itself is quite complex, so we needed a user-friendly, visual interface which enables users without a GIS background to use it,” Mr van Burgel said.

“The control panel enables users to input information that will inform the UWA Simulator, such as the fire’s location and topographical and fuel load datasets.

“The digital maps generated provide users with a visual picture of the fire’s predicted path.”

Mr van Burgel said the Tool would be important for testing fire fighting techniques, fire management strategies and managing the up-coming fire season.

“The system will enable emergency services personnel to test how a range of bushfire fighting techniques, such as fire-break location and design and back-burning, would work against a current or hypothetical fire,” Mr van Burgel said.

“They can also gauge the effectiveness of those interventions in protecting lives, property and infrastructure in any location in Australia.

“The simulator could also be used to assess what changes to the layout or location of infrastructure could be made to reduce bushfire risk.”

Mr van Burgel said the Bushfire Spread Prediction Tool was part of a larger project funded under the Australian Government’s Digital Regions Initiative.

“The existing FireWatch website delivers critical bushfire information from emergency services and the public, and this will be expanded into a national early warning system,” Mr van Burgel said.

“As Western Australia’s geographical data authority, Landgate is charged with managing the project and developing the early warning website, desktop interface and other infrastructure.

“Other project partners are UWA and the Fire and Emergency Services Authority, the Tool’s primary user, which will help expand the technology’s use to other Australian fire agencies.”

Hosted by location intelligence specialists Esri Australia, the market leader in Australia’s $2.1 billion spatial industry, Ozri has carved out a reputation as the Asia Pacific’s premier showcase for the latest advances in GIS technology.

Launched on 12 October 2011, the conference will be running in Melbourne until tomorrow.

For further information, visit