CalFire Daily Maps

Last summer I was at Google’s GEO Institute and there were a lot of fires going on in California.  I was a firefighter for 5+ years and remember looking at the fire maps and the growth of a fire over time.  With CalFires use of Google MyMaps the history of fires is now missing.  So, as a solution I decided to automate a daily backup (10am and 10pm) of the current CalFire fire map to my Google Drive.  The daily backup script has been goin on for almost a full year, so I think it is reliable enough to share them.  Plus, it is fire season again and you can check out the growth of a fire somewhere across the state.

When you click on any of the URLs you will be taken to the Google Drive view of the file (see below).

Whats Next

You will have more control if you download the file and load the kmz file into either Google MyMaps or Google Earth for Chrome.  Check back in the coming weeks for more information on how to import kml/kmz files into Google MyMaps and Google Earth.

Example of a fire perimeter in My Maps

Example of a fire perimeter in Google Earth

MyMaps Combiner

Backstory

Back in March 2017 I was working with a math teacher using the Very Large Array (see map)in New Mexico to study Area using maps.  The students explored the VLA to discover things like the size of each satellite dish, the distance between each dish, and to measure the farthest distance that a dish could be send down each of the 3 sets of tracks.  The students had lots of fun exploring the VLA and using the various tools in Google MyMaps.

Problem

We worked with 3 classes that day, creating nearly 100 student MyMaps.  That was when I realized there was a problem, the teacher would have need to look through each of these maps to measure students understanding of the tools and underlying mathematical principals.  Each MyMap to around 30 seconds to load and then some additional time to explore.  If the teacher took a combined total of 1 minute for each student they would need over 1 1-/2 hours to look at these maps.  Reality is, no teacher has that time.

Solution

To save teacher the time necessary to explore a classroom worth of MyMaps, I have developed the MyMaps Combiner (available at jeranott.com/mymapscombiner).  This tool assumes that you are collecting MyMaps into a single folder (for example using a Google Classroom assignment to collect the students MyMaps).  After choosing to make a copy of the file

You will be greeted by the OTT-o-matic MyMaps Combiner tool!

Which also added the “OTT-o-matic Functions” menu to the menubar

Step 1

From the OTT-o-matic Functions menu choose “Step 1) Select Drive Folder with MyMaps”.  You will select the folder from your Google Drive that contains the MyMaps you would like to combine.  The first time you run this you will be asked for permission to run this script.

  and then  

You will then be prompted to select the folder

  and then  

Select the folder that contains your MyMaps

The script will collect the MyMaps information contained within that folder and will add them to the Spreadsheet.  You will get a summary of that was done.

Step 2)

Caution: You must own the Google MyMaps for this part of the process.
Have your students submit the assignment, or individually set you as the owner of the file.

From the OTT-o-matic Functions menu choose “Step 2) Create MyMaps combine KML file”. This will take a few moments to combine all of the MyMap information into one KML (Keyhole Markup Language) file that can saved and opened into Google Earth.  The file will be named after the folder you selected and will end in kml.  This file will be located in your Google Drive and should automatically be placed in the selected MyMaps folder (based on permissions).

Step 3)

Using Google Earth Pro or Google Earth For Chrome open the KML file.  The combined KML will load into Google Earth as a single map, with each MyMap being contained in a subfolder.  From here you can turn on and off layers and explore your students MyMaps.

Step 4)

When you want to refresh your view in Google Earth of the MyMaps, you can simply reload the combined KML file.  This file uses network linking to access each MyMaps, so when you reload the combined KML file, new data is pulled from each map.  If you need additional MyMaps to be included, re-run steps 1 and 2 to create a new combine KML file.