Eyes in the Sky II > GIT Web Course > Module 2 > Week 8 > Getting to Know Cartography in GIS > Getting to Know Cartography in AEJEE

Week 8: Monitoring Fires

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Getting to Know Cartography in AEJEE

On this page, you'll review database and spatial querying as well as practice symbolizing and classifying data. You'll also find out how to gather statistics on numeric fields you query.

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Launch AEJEE and Open the Aspen Fire Project

AEJEE_logo
  • Launch AEJEE by double-clicking its icon on your desktop or by clicking its icon in the Dock (Mac) or Launch Bar (Win).
  • Choose File > Open, navigate to ESRI/AEJEE/Data/AspenAE, select the Aspen_fire.axl file, and click Open.
  • When the project opens, the base map displays a satellite image of Earth.

    The image is part of the Blue Marble collection at NASA. It is a composite generated from several different types of data. Much of the data comes from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument, a remote sensing device on the Terra satellite. Latitude and longitude lines are visible on top of the image.




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Investigate the Spread of the Fire with Database Queries

You might wonder . . . How far did the fire spread and how many acres did it consume by the end of Day 1? Day 2? Day 3? Day 4? Use database queries to find out.

  • Scroll down to the bottom of the Table of Contents. Turn off the Blue Marble Earth image. Then turn on the Shaded Relief and False Color Aerial images plus the Daily Fire Perimeter layer. Zoom in until you can clearly see the perimeter lines.
  • There are several ways you can do this. The steps below show one way to end up with a map zoomed in on the Daily Fire Perimeter layer.

    1. Scroll down to the bottom of the Table of Contents.
      TOC contents scrolled down
    2. Turn off the Blue Marble Earth image by clicking the box to the left of its name.
      blue marble off
    3. Turn on the Countries and US 48 States layer by clicking the boxes to the left of their names.
      countries and us states on
    4. Turn on the Shaded Relief and False Color Aerial images plus the Daily Fire Perimeter layer. Look carefully and you will see a small dot in the Southeastern part of Arizona. This dot is all that is visible of the fire images and perimeter layer at this scale. It is necessary to zoom in for a closer look.
      countries and US states dot on crcld
    5. Make the Daily Fire Perimeter layer active by clicking on its label in the Table of Contents. Then click the Zoom to Active Layer Zoom to Full Extent button.. This is what the map looks like when zoomed in on the Daily Fire Perimeter layer.
      dily fire perimeter lines on

  • Open the Attribute Table of the Daily Fire Perimeter layer and scroll across the table until you find the ACRES field.
    1. Right-click on the PC or control-click on the Mac the Daily Fire Perimeter label in the Table of Contents and select Attribute Table.
      daily perim attribute tbl 1
    2. In the Attributes of Daily Fire Perimeter table that opens, you can view the individual records for the layer. Scroll across the table until you find the ACRES field.
      1 scrolled to acres

    The ACRES field indicates the number of acres consumed by the fire, feature by feature. You'll notice that a single day frequently consists of several features displayed as polygons that show the area of the fire each day. We'll ask AEJEE to select these, highlighting them together.
  • Close the Attributes of Daily Fire Perimeter table.

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Create and execute a query that shows how far the fire spread on the first day

How would you write the query statement?
(DATE = 617)
  1. Make sure the Daily Fire Perimeter layer is the active layer by click on its name in the Table of Contents. Click the Query Builder... Query builder button button or select Tools > Query Builder.
    tools query builder
  2. A new window opens. Move it to where you can see both the Query Builder and the map.
    2 query builder open
  3. In the Query Builder window select the field DATE by clicking once on it. Then click the "equals" sign. Last choose the Value 617 by clicking once on it. You can also type in this equation (DATE = 617) into the box in the middle of the window. Click Execute. One record is selected on the map.
    query builder executed
  • In the Query Results box, notice that 52 acres burned that first day.
    query results 52 acres and map

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Create and execute a query to find out how many acres burned by the end of Day 2

Hint: To find out how many acres burned by the end of the second day, build and execute a query that selects the features that burned on both June 17 and June 18, 2003.

How would you write the query statement?

(DATE = 617) or (DATE = 618) is the query to use. If you use the expression, (DATE = 617) and (DATE = 618), no features will be selected since there are no features that have two dates.

  • After executing the query, notice that nine features are now selected.
  • The results of the query show that 9 features showing the spread of the fire have been selected.
    query results 9 selected
  • Use the Statistics button in the Query Builder window to find out how many total acres burned.
    1. To find out how many total acres burned, click the Statistics button in the Query Builder window.
      date equals 617 or 618 statistics pressed crlcd
    2. A new window opens. Select ACRES as the field to get statistics about and check the Use Query Results? box. Click OK.
      satistics window crcld
    3. The Statistics Results shows the Total number of acres at 461.85.
      statistics window with results circld

    The Statistics Results include the Total which sums the acres burned for each feature. The query you built selected all the features from Day 1 and Day 2. So by the end of the second day, the fire had covered 461.85 acres.
  • Close the Statistics Results window.

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Create and execute a query to find out how many acres burned by the end of Day 3

How would you write the query statement?

(DATE = 617) or (DATE = 618) or (DATE = 619) is the query to use.

How many acres burned?
3,230 acres had burned by the end of the third day.

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Create and execute a query to find out how many acres burned by the end of Day 4

How would you write the query statement?

(DATE = 617) or (DATE = 618) or (DATE = 619) or (DATE = 620) is the query to use.

How many acres burned?
6,348.82 acres had burned by the end of the fourth day.
  • Close the Statistics Results and Query Builder windows. Click the Clear All Selection Clear Selections button.
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Click on the movie to start playing.

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Investigate the Spread of the Fire with Spatial Queries

You might wonder . . . How many parcels were within one mile of the fire on Day 1? Day 2? Day 3? Day 4? Use spatial queries to find out.

  • The Shaded Relief and False Color Aerial images plus the Daily Fire Perimeter layer should still be on. In addition, turn on the Parcel Status layer and zoom to the extent of the layer.
    1. The Shaded Relief and False Color Aerial images plus the Daily Fire Perimeter layer should still be on.
      dily fire perimeter lines on
    2. Turn on the Parcel Status layer by clicking the box to the left of its name.
      parcel status on
    3. Click the Zoom to Active Layer Zoom to Full Extent button. Individual parcels are now visible on the map.
      parcel status zoomed to

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Select the area of the fire on Day 1

  • Make Daily Fire Perimeter the active layer. Then query the layer to show how far the fire spread on Day 1.
    1. Make the Daily Fire Perimeter layer active by click on its name in the Table of Contents. Click the Query Builder... Query builder button button or select Tools > Query Builder.
      tools query builder
    2. A new window opens. Move it to where you can see both the Query Builder and the map.
      query builder open
    3. In the Query Builder window select the field DATE by clicking once on it. Then click the "equals" sign. Last choose the Value 617 by clicking once on it. You can also type this equation (DATE = 617) into the box in the middle of the window. Click Execute.
      query completed 1 selected
  • Close the Query Builder window. One feature is selected on the map.
    query window closed

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Buffer the area of the fire to find parcels that are within one mile of it on Day 1

  • Use the Buffer buffer tool icon button to set a one mile buffer that selects parcels.
    1. Click the Buffer buffer tool icon button to open the Buffer window.
      buffer window open
    2. In the Buffer window, set the Buffer Distance to 1 and the Buffer Units to Miles. Turn on the Use buffer to select features from this layer option, using the Parcel Status layer.
      buffer window open set to select

  • Click OK. The map shows a one mile buffer around the area of the fire on the first day, with parcels that are within the buffer showing as highlighted in yellow.
    buffer on map

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Show the results of the spatial query

  • To see the results of the spatial query, open the Attribute Table of the Parcel Status layer and scroll down to the bottom of the table.
    1. Right-click on the PC or control-click on the Mac the Parcel Status label in the Table of Contents and select Attribute Table.
      buffer on map opening attribute table
    2. In the Attributes of Parcel Status table that opens, you can view the individual records for the layer. Scroll down the Attribute Table. The selected records are highlighted in blue. The table in this image has been scrolled partially down the list.
      attribute table of parcels open scrolled down
  • The number of parcels selected is shown at the bottom of the Attribute Table.
    just attribute table
  • How many parcels were selected?
  • 143 out of 1055 parcels were within one mile of the fire on Day 1.

  • Close the Attributes of Parcel Status and click the Clear All Selection Clear Selections button.

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Repeat the steps above to find the parcels that were within one mile of the fire on days two, three, and four

Movie Icon

Click on the movie to start playing.

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Create a New Project to Explore Additional Fire Data

Now that you have explored a specific fire (the Aspen fire), you will broaden your focus to look at fires globally and in the U.S. You will create a new project, add image and vector data and symbolize it as needed to help you visualize patterns in fire data.

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Where were the fires in February 2010?

  • To create a new project file, select File > New. AEJEE will ask if you want save the project that you have open. Click No.
    1. Select File > New.
      file new
    2. AEJEE will ask if you want save the project that you have open. Click No.
      click no

  • Click the Add Data Layer add layer button button. Navigate to the data folder, select the Feb2010_Fire.TIFF, and click OK.
  • This is the map with the Feb2010_Fire.TIFF image turned on. The image shows fires active across the globe during February 2010. The data come from the MODIS satellite. It was downloaded from NASA Earth Obsservations (NEO) site as a GeoTIFF file. It was downloaded at the 0.25 resolution, so as not to slow down the rate at which layers are drawn. Some of the points may have been lost in this reduction.
    While it is a pretty picture, it is hard to interpret this raster data without the addition of vector data to orient our brains.
    open NEO image

  • Add the cntry95_wd.shp layer to the map. Then move this vector layer above the fire image layer.
    1. Click the Add Data add layer button button. Navigate to the data folder, select the cntry95_wd.shp, and click OK.
      getting countries layer
    2. The cntry95_wd.shp layer is now on the map, but it is underneath the Feb2010_Fire.TIFF image. Right-click on the PC or control-click on the Mac the cntry95_wd.shp layer in the Table of Contents and select Move Layer > Move Up.
      move layer up
    3. This is what the map looks like with the cntry95_wd.shp layer on top.
      country layer on top NEO

  • The cntry95_wd.shp layer is now on the map and visible, but it is hiding the layer below it. Edit the properties of the cntry95_wd.shp layer so that only the outlines are visible on top of this predominately black image. Then give the layer a more recognizable name like Countries.
    1. Right-click on the PC or control-click on the Mac the cntry95_wd.shp layer in the Table of Contents and select Properties....
      edit properites right clk
    2. In the Properties window, change the Style of the fill to Transparent fill, and the Color of the Outline to Light Gray. Click Apply.
      edit properties completed
    3. Click the General tab at the top of the Properties window and type Countries in the Layer Name: box, giving the layer a new more recognizable name. Click Apply and click OK.
      general tab

  • Now the image makes more sense to our brains. It has been given context by the Countries outline.
    NEO image with Countries

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How Do Fire Prone Areas Change throughout the year?

  • Explore more fire data by adding the FEB_2010_MODIS.shp layer to the project.
    1. Click the Add Data add layer button button. Navigate to the data folder, select the FEB_2010_MODIS.shp, and click OK.
      getting MODIS layer
    2. Here is what the map looks like with after the FEB_2010_MODIS.shp layer has been added.
      MODIS on map Unclassified

  • To look for patterns in the fire data, classify the Julian date field of the layer into four classes of graduated symbols using an equal interval classification. By using four classes you are breaking up the month's worth of data into weekly intervals. The Julian calendar is often used in science. On a Julian calendar, January 1 is day one of the year and December 31st is day 365.
    1. Right-click on the PC or control-click on the Mac the FEB_2010_MODIS.shp layer in the Table of Contents and select Properties....
      r click to set props
    2. Select the following options in the Properties window:
      • Draw features using: Graduated Symbols
      • Classify by the Field: JULIAN
      • Classes: 4
      • Style: Circle
      • Classified by: Equal Interval
      • Color: Start color Yellow, End color Red
      • Size: Start 3, End 3
      • Click Apply and click OK
      classified by Julian
    3. Here is the map with the data classified by Julian date.
      zoom to United States

  • Make FEB_2010_MODIS.shp the active layer by clicking on its name in the Table of Contents. Then click the Zoom to Active Layer Zoom to Full Extent button.
    fianl map with NEO
  • What state and region had the most fires in February?
  • Florida and the southern states had the most fires in February. These fires early in the fire season are typically grass fires. As the season progresses, and more areas dry out, the fires move North and West until fall rain and snow quiets the fire season for another year.


  • Choose File > Save As.. and navigate to the AspenAE folder. Name your project Feb_Fires. AEJEE will automatically add the appropriate extension (.axl) when you click Save.
Movie Icon

Click on the movie to start playing.

loading the player

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Create a Map to Tell a Story of Interest to You

  • Create a new project and use at least two of the GIS analysis techniques you've learned in this module (database and spatial querying, symbolizing, classifying, adding latitude/longitude data, gathering statistics) to illustrate a story with data.
  • Feel free to use any of the GIS data from any of the projects in this module. Be sure to look in the YellowstoneFireData that you will download in the next section of this week's material for all kinds of additional data to explore.
  • If you like, you can go to NEO and download a GeoTIFF to bring in as a base layer for your project.
  • Take a screenshot of your map when you have finished it. If you like what you have created then save your project.

This is the screenshot that you will post to your discussion group for your required weekly assignment.

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Resources

  • 60 Minutes Program "Age of Megafires" viewable online. Shows the results of the Aspen Fire Age of Megafires
  • Wildland Fire Graphics and information from CBS News Wildland Fire

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Movies on this Page

This section is under construction - come back soon!

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How to download movies

  • Click the link to go to the SERC media library listing for the movie. The record will open in a new window.
  • On the SERC media library page, right-click (Win) or control-click (Mac) the link (below the movie on the Flash version pages) to download the movie file to your hard drive.
  • Look below the movie window for the file download link.

    Save Movie from CMS listing

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Flash Video Versions

Download these versions to play on your computer. You'll need an appropriate movie player to view the file, such as Flash Player, Real Player (Mac / Win), or Adobe Media Player.

Movie Icon Investigating the Spread of the Fire Using Database Queries in AEJEE

Movie Icon Investigating the Spread of the Fire Using Spatial Queries in AEJEE

Movie Icon Creating a New Project in AEJEE

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iPod Versions

Download these version to play on your iPod or iPhone.

Movie Icon Investigating the Spread of the Fire Using Database Queries in AEJEE

Movie Icon Investigating the Spread of the Fire Using Spatial Queries in AEJEE

Movie Icon Creating a New Project in AEJEE