Aussies can now receive up-to-date bushfire details on Google Maps

Google has rolled out a new bushfire layer to help Australians access bushfire information via Google Maps.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor
Image: Google

Google has rolled out a new bushfire layer on Google Maps for Australian users to easily access official bushfire information about active fires.

The new layer can be turned on by tapping the layers symbol on Maps and then on the "Wildfires" icon. When the layer is turned on, users can get up-to-date details about multiple fires through Google Maps. Users can access specific details on a particular bushfire by tapping on a fire on the map. Some of those specific details include the latest updates, location, level of severity, and recommended actions, and any reported road closures.

The search engine giant added that when bushfire-related queries are searched on Google, it assured that information provided by state fire agencies will be surfaced in search results. 

"Whether we're delivering crisis alerts or aiding in wildlife recovery, our goal is to find the right combination of in-field expertise, scientific knowledge and technology to help Australians get trusted information when it matters most," Google Australia engineer site lead Daniel Nadasi said.

Read also: Google and AWS harness the power of machine learning to predict floods and fires

Elsewhere, the Victorian government and the Ararat Rural City Council have teamed up to run a trial that will investigate how smart farming technologies and Digital Twin Victoria can help Ararat farmers track and respond to local weather and climate conditions.

As part of the trial, farmers will connect their existing digital infrastructure on their farms, such as weather conditions, soil monitoring data, and tank water levels, to data available on the digital twin of Victoria.

According to the state government, by combining the data and technology, farmers will be able to create local weather maps with site-specific details that can inform them when to sow and harvest, as well as access a bird's eye view of their paddocks and compare past and present satellite imagery.

"Pairing Digital Twin Victoria with existing smart farming technologies is a huge opportunity for the agriculture sector, driving efficiencies and informing decision making," Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said.

"We're ensuring our farmers have the information they need to plan where to plant and when to harvest -- that's a great thing for an industry that supports so many Victorians."

The state government said in July it would develop a data-based digital replica of the state that is expected to provide digital spatial data and models of built and natural environments, including utilities infrastructure, farmland, and cities.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) was appointed to build the online platform that will host Digital Twin Victoria.

Just last week, CSIRO, Microsoft, and Australian agtech startup Agronomeye announced they have worked together to develop a new platform that aims to "bring together disparate data sets to help farmers see a fuller picture of their own property, above and below the surface".

"This new platform takes real-time data and puts it into the hands of farmers in a way that is easy to use and simple to interpret -- so they can confidently make critical decisions, like matching their sowing timetable to soil moisture profiles or planning water catchment systems based on the natural flow patterns of their properties," Microsoft said.

The platform is being trialled at CSIRO's Boorowa Agricultural Research Station in regional New South Wales.

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