Out of the unfortunate wildfire disaster in Southern California comes a stark reminder of the value of geo-spatial imagery combined with mapping technologies for public safety.
As the wildfire emergency reached its apex, Microsoft offered the assistance of its resources to the affected areas receiving requests from the counties of Orange, San Diego and San Bernardino. Microsoft partners IS Consulting and Infusion Development (and its subject matter expert partner, Catalyst Capabilities International), responded to the overall effort by integrating the capabilities of the Infusion emergency management platform known as the Joint Emergency Planning and Response System (JEPRS--an innovative crisis management portal providing over-the-map collaboration) with the IS Consulting MapDotNet Server 2007 .NET GIS server solution that allows third party data, such as shape files, to be integrated with Virtual Earth maps.
Through its MapDotNet Server solution, ISC provided the ability to layer and register the aerial imagery of the areas affected by the wildfires onto Virtual Earth and tie in the parcel point data for homes in the region.
Meanwhile, Infusion went to work customizing its baseline JPRS application--comprised of SharePoint, Virtual Earth, InfoPath and Live Communications Server--to provide Emergency Operations Centers (specifically the County of Orange) with the ability to then view the imagery generated by multiple sources through a single portal.
The net result is the application shown in the below screenshot to enable emergency response teams to more effectively collaborate, given a clear common operational picture of the wildfire. You can see the aerial imagery draped over the Virtual Earth 3D terrain, with areas colored in red (if I understand correctly) to indicate the spread of the wildfire. The red dots represent houses in the area. Hovering over a red dot with your mouse, presents a pushpin and displays the home data for the user. The application appears to also leverage the Virtual Earth search feature to alternatively allow users to directly search for an address or landmark. Incidents, personnel and assets are tracked through GIS layers that can be turned on and off.