Eyes in the Sky II > GIT Web Course > Module 2 > Week 8 > Use Fire Data to Review GIS Basics > Use Fire Data to Review MyWorld Basics

Week 8: Monitoring Fires

top of page

Use Fire Data to Review My World Basics

In this first section of Week 8, you'll review some of the basic GIS skills you have learned, including turning layers on and off, zooming and panning within them, and working with the data tables linked to the map.

top of page

Download Geographic Data About Fires

  • Right-click (Win) or control-click (Mac) the link below to download the zipped file.
    AspenFireMW.zip (Zip Archive 19.8MB Jun13 10)
  • Unzip the file. In the folder will be a project called AspenFireMW.m3vz will be created.
  • Move the entire AspenFireMW folder into the Data folder inside the MyWorld folder. (Path: .../MyWorld/data/AspenFireMW.m3vz)

top of page

Launch My World and Open the Aspen Fire Project

My World Icon
  • Launch My World by double-clicking its icon on your desktop or by clicking its icon in the Dock (Mac) or Launch Bar (Win).
  • Choose File > Open Project..., navigate to My World/data/AspenFireMW.m3vz, select the AspenFireMW.m3vz 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.




top of page

Explore the Data Layers of the Aspen Fire project

  • Scroll down to the bottom of the Layer List and turn on the Countries layer.
    1. Scroll down to the bottom of the Layer List.
      2 scroll down layer list
    2. Turn on the Countries layer by clicking the box to the right of its name.
      3 countries on

  • Next, turn on the US 48 States layer, make it active, and zoom in on it.
    1. Turn on the US 48 States layer and make it active. Then click the Zoom to Active Layer zoom to active layer button.
      4 zoom to active US countries
    2. Here is what the map looks like after zooming to the US 48 States layer.
      5 map zoomed in

  • Select the Zoom In tool and drag a rectangle over Arizona. Turn on the Landsat Mosaic theme, make its layer active, and zoom in on it.
    1. Select the Zoom In tool and drag a rectangle over Arizona.
      6 box dragged over AZ
    2. Here is what the map looks like after zooming in on Arizona.
      7 results of zoom
    3. Now turn on the Landsat Mosaic layer and make it active by clicking its name in the Layer List. Then click the Zoom to Active Layer zoom to active layer button.
      8 landsat mosiac on active
    4. Here is what the map looks like after zooming in on the Landsat Mosaic layer.
      9 zoomed to landsat mosciac

  • Continue working your way up the list through the Layer List, turning on each layer and zooming in as needed to see it. Stop when you get to the True Color Aerial layer. This layer displays a remotely sensed image of the Aspen Fire. Read the passage below to find out about the Aspen fire.

  • top of page

    The Aspen Fire

    Aspen_fire_true_color The Aspen Fire started on Tuesday, June 17, 2003, in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona, about two miles from the mountain community of Summerhaven. The fire spread rapidly, fueled by high temperatures and dry conditions and fanned at times by extremely high winds gusting at 40 to 60 miles per hour.

    When the summer monsoon rains finally arrived on July 15, the fire was extinguished. By that time the fire had burned 84,750 acres and destroyed 335 structures. Three and a half million gallons of water were used to fight the fire, 400,000 gallons of fire retardant were dropped, and over 1000 fire fighters battled the blaze. The cost of suppressing the fire was estimated at 17 million dollars.

  • Turn on the False Color Aerial image. Switch between the True and False color images by turning them alternately on and off.
    • The True Color Aerial image is turned on in this view.
      10 true color aerial on
    • The False Color Aerial image is turned on in this view.
      11 false color aerial on

    top of page

    MODIS True and False Color Images

    These remotely sensed images of the Aspen fire were acquired on June 24, 2003 by the MODIS Airborne Simulator instrument carried by a NASA ER-2 high altitude aircraft. (The ER-2 is a research version of the military U-2 spy plane.) MODIS is capable of imaging in 36 different wavelength bands, including several bands in the infrared (IR).

    The bottom image is a true color image, approximating what you would see if you looked down on the fire from the plane. The top one is a false color image with Shortwave IR assigned to the red channel, Near IR assigned to green, and Green assigned to the blue channel. Notice how the addition of the infrared wavelengths makes the extent of the burned area easier to detect. The red color does not represent the heat of the fire. Rather, it's the high reflectance in the shortwave IR from the now barren trees and ground. The fire itself appears as bright orange-red strips around the perimeter of the burn area. Note also how well the infrared wavelengths penetrate the smoke, giving a much clearer picture of conditions on the ground.

    Living vegetation strongly absorbs at these IR wavelengths and reflects green light, so vegetated areas appear bright green in the image. Rocks and bare ground appear brownish.

    Remotely sensed images and GIS data were instrumental in monitoring both the fire and its aftermath. In general, images like these are helping natural resource personnel to better understand and manage fires.

  • Move your way up the Layer List and explore the other layers in the project by turning them on and off and zooming in or out as needed. To speed up the time it takes for layers to load in the map, you can turn off the images that you are not using.
  • Use the Zoom and Move Map tools as you explore.
    Zoom In
    Zoom Out
    zoom to active layer Zoom to Active Layer
    pan tool Move Map
    Zoom Full Extent
  • When you are done exploring, turn off all the layers except the False Color Aerial and Shaded Relief images.
Movie Icon

Click on the movie to start playing.

loading the player


top of page

Investigate Tables of Layers in the Aspen Fire Project

Open and investigate several of the Table of Layers for data layers in the project. As you investigate these layers and their data, think of questions that you might be interested in exploring further, such as: "How did the fire spread?" or "Where was the greatest damage?"

top of page

Investigate the Daily Fire Perimeter layer

  • Turn on the Daily Fire Perimeter and zoom in until you can clearly see the perimeter lines. Then make this layer active.
  • Turn on the Daily Fire Perimeter layer by clicking the unchecked box to the right of its name and zoom in until you can clearly see the perimeter lines. Then make Daily Fire Perimeter the active layer by clicking once in the area next to its name in the Layer List.
    12 Daily Fire on active

    This layer maps the daily expansion of the burn area in progressively darker shades of brown, beginning June 17 and ending July 12, 2003.

  • Open the Table of Layer of Daily Fire Perimeter and sort the records by DATE in ascending order. The dates are given in a month and day combined format. For example, June 28th is listed as 628.
    1. Click once on the Daily Fire Perimeter label in the Layer List and then select the Show Table of Active Layer button.
      13 show table of
    2. In the Table of Layer "Daily Fire Perimeter" window that opens, you can view the individual records for the layer. Scroll across the table until you find the DATE field.

      14 Scrolled across to date
    3. Select the header of DATE field. Click on the header to rearrange the records in the table in chronological order, either ascending or descending. The dates are given in a month and day combined format. For example, June 28th is listed as 628.
      15 sort descending

    Each record in the Table of Layer "Daily Fire Perimeter" describes a specific polygon on Earth's surface that was burned by the fire over a one day period and corresponds to a feature on the map. In this case, these polygons show the progress of the fire each day. They contain important information for fire management planning. They show direction and rate of the fire's spread. They are drawn frequently throughout the day by the fire management team. Fires generally slow their progress during the night, giving the fire crews time to recoup and use these maps to plan a strategy of attack for the next day. These maps are also posted in places where they are publicly available, so that everyone involved has the opportunity to be informed.
  • Move the Table of Layer "Daily Fire Perimeter" so you can see both the table and the map at the same time. Click any record in the table, and click "Make Selection from Rows". Give your selection a name or accept the default name applied, (you can change it later if you wish). Click OK and the corresponding feature will be highlighted in yellow on the map, although some features are so small that they might be hard to see.
    Select records in groups by day to follow the daily progression of the fire. When selecting records, use the shift key to select a group of perimeters showing each day's records as a group. Then click the "Make Selection from Rows" button, rename your selection with the date of the fire selected. When you are finished investigating, close the attribute table of the layer.
    1. Open the Table of Layer "Daily Fire Perimeter". Hold the shift key and select a group of records.
      17 make selection from rows 1
    2. Click the "Make Selection from Rows" button at the top of the layer list. Name the Selection, or accept the default name. Click OK.
      18 naming selection 620
    3. The layer will be highlighted in yellow on the map and in the table.
      19 selection 620 on map

  • Close the Table of Layer "Daily Fire Perimeter" window. Then turn off the Daily Fire Perimeters layer.
Movie Icon

Click on the movie to start playing.

loading the player


top of page

Investigate the Burn Severity layer

  • Make the Burn Severity layer the Active layer. Open its Table of Layer "Burn Severity" table and examine the SEVERITY field.
    1. Make the Burn Severity layer the Active layer. Click on its label in the Layer List and click the Show Table of the Active Layer button.
      20 burn severity
    2. In the Table of Layer "Burn Severity" window that opens, scroll across to the SEVERITY field. Note the categories in this field: HIGH, MODERATE, LOW etc.
      21 burn severity attributes table

  • Switch between the Burn Severity layer and the false color image to compare them.
  • The Burn Severity layer was created after the fire using satellite data. This map helps managers plan remediation and rehabilitation efforts.
  • Close the Table of Layer "Burn Severity".

top of page

Investigate the Fire Temperature layer

  • Make the Fire Temperature layer the Active layer. Open its Table of Layer and sort the TEMP field to find the range of the fire temperature.
  • The temperatures in the TEMP field are what is sensed by the MODIS satellite. They are in degrees Celsius.
    1. Make Fire Temperature the Active layer by clicking on its label in the Layer List. With the Fire Temperature layer the active layer, select Show Table of the Active Layer button.
      24 fire tmeperature data table
    2. In the Table of Layer "Fire Temperature" that opens, scroll across to the TEMP field. These temperatures are what is sensed by the MODIS satellite. They are in degrees Celsius.
      fire temp attribute table open
    3. Sort the table by the TEMP field Ascending and Descending to find the range of the fire temperature.
      25 Fire temp data sorted descending

    What range of temperatures are in the TEMP field?
    The fire temperature ranges from 305.2 to 500.1 degrees Celsius. You can also see this in the Legend at the bottom of the map window.

  • Close the Table of Layer "Burn Severity" window.
Movie Icon

Click on the movie to start playing.

loading the player


top of page

Explore More If You Have Time

  • Explore the relationship between Fire Temperature and Burn Severity by turning the layers on and off to compare them.
  • Open up the Attribute tables of other layers and investigate the data within them.
  • Quit My World and Do NOT save the project.

top of page

Resources

top of page

Movies on this Page

top of page

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

top of page

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 Exploring Map Layers in My World

Movie Icon Exploring the Daily Fire Perimeter Layer in My World

Movie Icon Exploring the Fire Severity and Fire Temperature layers in MyWorld

top of page

iPod Versions

Download these version to play on your iPod or iPhone.

Movie Icon Exploring Map Layers in My World

Movie Icon Exploring the Daily Fire Perimeter Layer in My World

Movie Icon Exploring the Fire Severity and Fire Temperature Layers in My World