FY 2000

NRCG GIS Task Group


The Charter of the Northern Rockies Coordinating Group (NRCG) GIS Task Group (GIS TG) requires that an annual Action Plan be presented to the NRCG. This Action Plan communicates the tasks and projects the GIS TG plans to engage in for Fiscal Year 2000.  Approval by the NRCG authorizes the GIS TG to continue or begin work on the tasks and projects outlined in the Action Plan.  The Action Plan ensures both accountability for and effective accomplishment of NRCG assigned and/or authorized tasks.  FY 00 continuing tasks include:

I. Team Management

II. Geospatial Data Library & Standards

III. Communication and Networking

IV. Training


I. Team Management



1.  Receive interagency, geospatial information management assignments from the NRCG as identified in the NRCG GIS TG charter.

          2.  Identify and report priorities to NRCG for future geospatial issues and actions.


Problem:  The GIS TG will provide the NRCG and all of the associated Working Teams with quality information and advice concerning the use of geospatial data, applications, and processes in support of interagency wildland fire management.  To carry out this charter and assist the NRCG, some degree of team business activity must be undertaken.


          1.  Conduct four team meetings a year.

          2.  Coordinate with Team Liaison for NRCG.

          3.  Coordinate with Team Liaison for NWCG Information Resource Management Geospatial Task Group  

          4. Pursue liaison relationships with other GIS working groups within Region and Nationally

          5.  Develop annual Action Plan including budget.


Schedule: FY 00 GIS TG  Meetings:

 Conference Call 1st wk of June

To be announced:  telephone/video conferences as business warrants.


Responsibility: GIS Task Group Chair & V. Chair


Budget: None

II. Geospatial Data Library & Standards


Task: Compile & catalog regionally available Geospatial data from cooperating agencies. Identify standard format to the effect of a NRCG wildland fire GIS library.   Estimate the cost for development, distribution; including design and implementation of a web-based clearinghouse, and maintenance of a library for use by all agencies. 

Problem: All of the government agencies that are involved with wildland fire management are in the midst of implementing systems (hardware and software) to facilitate the use of geospatial data for natural resource and land management purposes.  Most of these government agencies are also developing the geospatial data needed to drive these systems.  A problem arises when neighboring agencies try to join spatial data sets across agency boundaries.  Because no data standard was in place during the development of the data, the data varies considerably in quality and scale.  For this data to be useful for wildland fire management, it must be consistent across all agency boundaries.



1.  Identify the geospatial data needed to support the NRCG area.  Suggested areas of investigation include but are not limited to:

a.  Hazard Reduction and/or, Fire Use

b.  Fire / Resource Management Planning

c.  Fire Behavior Modeling

d.  Suppression; Tactical & Strategic

e.     Dispatching

2.     Propose a common data standard for each of the areas of investigation.

a.     Identify NRCG Projection

b.     Identify lowest  desired scale

c.     Require FGDC compliant metadata

d.     Identify transfer standard


Schedule:  Have Agency Representatives gather information or metadata about local data sets  to develop a geospatial data dictionary.  


Responsibility:  GIS TG members


Budget:  To be determined and requested.




III.  Communication and Networking


Task(s):  Create a coordinated dialogue between geospatial technology experts from the local to national scale to support interagency wildland fire management.  Communicate with the Fire Community on accomplishments and objectives.  The communication plan focuses on two areas:  facilitated discussions, and web-based information sharing.


Problem:  The use of geospatial technology is quickly changing the way Wildland Fire Managers and Incident Commanders evaluate situations, plan actions, and deploy resources.  However, many agencies and units do not have the data or trained personnel needed to implement geospatial applications for fire management. There is no clear vision of how geospatial technology should be integrated into Fire Management Planning and Operations.  There is also a tendency for users to reinvent applications or duplicate the efforts of other agencies, divisions, or units.



1. Participate with and include other working groups, teams & individuals toward implementation of geospatial data.



a.     Initiate coordinated dialogue between geospatial technology experts and users within the Fire Community.

b.     Develop a presentation about NRCG GIS TG and GIS applications to Fire Management activities with the Northern Rockies for team members to use to communicate with others.


Responsibility: GIS TG members

Budget:  To be determined


IV. Training



Develop a cadre of Fire GIS subject relative trainers within the Northern Rockies. Attend training opportunities with the intention of sharing learned skills.


Problem:  There is a lack of GIS skills and thus participation at the local level. For the workers of the Northern Rockies area to embrace the functionality of GIS they must be provided with the knowledge necessary to participate in the use of this technology. Knowledge of how to generate, and what to do with, data housed in a geospatial library instills ownership. The dependency of GIS specialists to provide all products is not efficient. Tools exist that can enable ground forces to provide geospatial end products for themselves.



          Course 1:  Field Applications of GPS for Fire Management,

                              Boise, ID, May 8 – 12, 2000

          Course 2:  ICS Mapping Applications for GIS Technical Specialists

          Camarillo, CA, May 15 – 19, 2000

          Ione, CA, July 17 – 21, 2000

Responsibility:  Two members will attend each session with ‘train the trainers’ responsibilities. Classes will be held winter 2001. Agencies will provide for Fire Managers and Field Crews to attend.


Budget:  To be supported by Local Unit


Conclusion:  The involvement of the GIS TG in the above mentioned activities has been agreed upon by the team members as initial activities that can be successfully accomplished from a newly formed working team.  Certainly discussions exist that support the GIS TG involvement in GIS data development such as regional fire regimes data sets or the development of fuels layers necessary to run the Farsite fire behavior model.  Discussions support greater web-based applications for dissemination of tools, and acquisition of data for a more cost effective implementation of GIS.  Lastly, the GIS TG supported the development of a seamless USGS DRG layer to be used as a standard backdrop for incident planning applications.  The NRCG GIS TG considered the tasks and resulting products included in this Action Plan as a good base from which to move forward on.