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2018 GISS Info

This page is continuously under development - check back as materials are being added regularly.

Sponsored by the NWCG Geospatial Sub Committee (GSC), this page is meant to inform wildland fire incident GIS resource personnel about the status of topics impacting the 2018 fire season. The target audience is GISS, GISS-T, SITL and other incident positions interested in 2018 GIS issues.

The recording for the annual GISS webinars are at the very bottom of this page.  

NEW!!!  Click on the Event GDB Workflow Decision Tree Image Below & Download the Decision Tree 
Word Document  with the Hyperlinked How-To Documents and Job Aids! NEW!!!
Workflow Decision Tree
I don't know which branch to follow!  
Click here to watch a short video that walks you through each branch.  

ArcGIS Version - Fire Season 2018 and 2018 S-341
The GSC has decided to standardize on the following software versions for the upcoming fire seasons. GSC representatives from each agency have supplied contact information below for accessing software. GISS should arrive at the incident with the correct software version installed.
*** It is strongly recommended that GISS start using ArcGIS Pro and become familiar with its benefits. Editing and managing data is much easier in ArcGIS Pro and it provides and easier workflow for editing feature service based data key to using ArcGIS Online and Collector. 
ArcGIS Pro Terminology Guide - link to crosswalk of terms from Pro to ArcMap and other ArcGIS Desktop applications.

Agency Specific GIS Software Contacts:
  • USFS - ArcMap 10.5.1 documentation  (& ArcGIS Pro release and documentation )- for questions access the Computer Helpdesk - 866-945-1354. When contacting the Computer Helpdesk, users need to identify that their issue should be “… escalated to tier II GIS…”. USFS information on ArcGIS Pro use can be found on the internal ArcGIS Pro SharePoint site (USFS internal ONLY).
  • NPS - ArcMap (and ArcGIS Pro) can be download here: https://imrgis.nps.gov/software/arcgis-desktop
  • USFWS - software is available for download in FWS Apps to Go
  • BLM - local desktop installs of ArcMap version 10.5.1 will be available for install through the REMEDY Request  Support System after Dec. 15th, 2017If you have had a request denied prior to that date, contact your DIRM Zone Chief, and/or resubmit your request through REMEDY after that date.
  • BIA - 2 step process. Approval for software and license from the Branch of Geospatial Services - geospatial@bia.gov - 877-293-9494. Then BIA IT Help desk to get software installed - helpdesk@bia.gov - 866-703-7100
  • State and Local - contact your IT Help Desk or agency GIS staff

NWCG Wildland Fire Event Data Standard 
Minimal updates to the Event Geodatabase (GDB) were made this year. Many people provided feedback on the Event GDB and those comments will be taken into account in the spring of 2018 for consideration in 2019. Thanks to all that provided comments. An updated GDB, layer files, and a Read Me document outlining the changes can be downloaded HERE. Additional information about the Event GDB and its use can be found HERE. Please make sure to download and use the updated schema!

Enterprise Geospatial Portal (EGP) - Request an EGP account
New items available with EGP:
National Incident Feature Service (NIFS)
The NIFS is hosted by EGP and used in ArcGIS Online and ArcMap/Pro desktop workflows. An EGP login with the "GISS" role is required to use the NIFS in ArcMap or Pro.

2018 National Incident Feature Service links, template maps, and workflow processes have been released. Please visit the Incident Resources Group in the NIFC Org for templates, or the workflow training for The Event GDB and Standard Workflow and the Approval and Suppression Repair Workflows on the GISS Training website.

If the incident wants their Event Polygon information shared with applications like GeoMac and Inciweb, please make sure the FeatureAccess attribute is set to "Public".

A Production and Training services are available this year. Both use identical feature classes and services and are included in the templates listed above. Note "test" as part of the URL string:

The NIFS is also being used by the INFORM project which creates auto-generated polygons in the service. These polygons are easily distinguished by their triangle shape with a size based on the initial acres of the fire report. These polygons contain the IRWIN ID and other important information about a fire which can be referenced for incident information. The polygons can also be edited by the GISS on the incident and used as a starting point for incident spatial data. 

As a GISS, you will need a NAP (NESS Application Portal) user name and password to upload to FTP.  FTP Server Information Page  contains general information, incident_specific_data folder upload request/approval, help desk support, etc.  

No changes in FTP upload requirements/directions for 2018 - please follow GSTOP and post incident data and products!  GISSes are also required to upload fire incident data (the Event geodatabase) to EGP to speed availability to GeoMac, Inciweb, and other applications. 

GSTOP Updates
2018 GSTOP Addendum Document, download HERE
  • Perimeter (Event GDB - incident data) up loaded to both EGP and FTP.NIFC.GOV 
  • Master incident geodatabases should include the tool and version used to create the GDB. When using the Event schema, the schema is the "tool" and the software version should be listed. Example: 2011_Playa_AZHVR503_Event_ArcMap_10_5.gdb
2019 (or 2020) - planning full GSTOP publication update.
Just a few of the coming changes:
  • 2019 Perimeter (Event GDB - incident data) upload to EGP - FTP for map products only
  • Updated GISS workflows
  • Additional symbology  
There have been many questions and comments about existing GSTOP symbology, the need for new symbols for incident management, and how to best display and determine "containment". This is an issue that will need to be addressed by the GSC and other relevant NWCG committees during 2018. Look for more information on these issues late 2018 and early 2019.

Five S-341 classes were taught in the spring of 2018, but significant efforts have been made to provide the entire curriculum through the GISS Introductory Class as an online source of GISS training for everyone (fully-qualifieds and trainees) throughout the year. The GISS Introductory Class is required before attending a classroom session.  The S-341 Classroom page on this site has been updated to include information for 2019 training.

2018 Trainees
Make sure you are listed correctly in the Resource Ordering and Status System (ROSS), that you have been added to Geographic Area Priority Trainee lists, and reach out to other qualified Plan Section Cheifs (PSC), Situation Unit Leaders (SITL), and GISS in your area. Making contacts is critical. Also review the Becoming a GISS page for additional ideas.

ArcGIS Online and Collector
The National Interagency Fire Center ArcGIS Online (NIFC Org) site is available to any fire incident cooperators. There are currently 6,200 registered users on the site. The site can be used by federal, state, and local resources involved in fire suppression and fuels management activities.

The NIFC Org is now available to host projects beyond wildland fire response. The NIFC Org can host data from:

  • Active and upcoming wildland incident response
  • Prescribed fires
  • Fuels treatment planning and data collection, for both prescribed fire or mechanical treatments
  • All hazard incident response - Wildland Fire based National Type 1 and Type 2 Teams can now use the Org for all Hazard Response
  • Fire planning and data sharing for wildfire response

We are working on making the NIFC Org Home Page a vital resource for those using AGOL on incidents this fire season. You will find links to templates, workflows and Featured Content from the home page.

2018 National Incident Feature Service links, template maps, and workflow processes have been released. Please visit the Incident Resources Group in the NIFC Org for additional information.

Questions on The NIFC Org can be sent to wildfireresponse@firenet.gov

Please use the following links or contacts for obtaining Avenza licensing information. The USFS has accounts available for incident cooperators.
Cooperators (managed by USFS - Contacts Link
NPS - Use this Form to request a license (Requires being logged into DOI Bison Connect)
BLM -Contact Virginia (Ginny) Farr @  gfarr@blm.gov, 208-387-5078
BIA - Contact the Branch of Geospatial Support at geospatial@bia.gov or call the Geospatial Support Help Desk at 877-293-9494

Avenza Maps 3.4 is available with GSTOP symbologyInformation on the release can be found HERETo get the fire symbols, Pro users can follow these directions (for iOS and Android).

GIS Licensing
ArcGIS Desktop licenses for cooperators - contact NIFC Geospatial Staff
ArcGIS Pro licences through the NIFC Org - make the request using this FORM.

Technology Rental Contracts
GIS Contracts for 2017/2018: Hartford (CA) – includes: Computers, Plotter, Printers, etc. and SmartSource (National) – includes: Computers, Printers, etc.
  • GISS Computer: Win10 (64-bit), Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 4GB dedicated video card, 1TB SSD, DVD+/-RW, 17 inch screen, Ethernet/WiFi/Bluetooth, etc.
  • GISS Software:ArcGIS 10.5.1 installed (10.3.1 install files will be available on the machine), 10 licenses, FIMT, FGX, DNR GPS, xTools, Google Earth, etc. Fire Rentals have the GISS-L license installed (the GISS-L permits the computer to be used as a license server with 10 concurrent licenses available).
  • Hartford and SmartSource –image released to vendors
  • Rental GIS software not working contact NIFC Geospatial Staff
  • Post perimeters to ftp site ftp.nifc.gov (ZIP ALL GeoDatabases!)
  • Standardized directory structure
  • Post NWCG Event Standard GDB features or shapefiles in standardized format
  • REST Services, https://wildfire.cr.usgs.gov/ArcGIS/rest/services/
  • Dynamic KML Downloads, https://rmgsc.cr.usgs.gov/outgoing/GeoMAC/current_year_fire_data/
  • Comments, questions? geomac@usgs.gov

Inciweb Updates

National IR Operations
***New Web Address as of 2017***  https://fsapps.nwcg.gov/nirops/
  • Workflow, scheduling, communication
  • Data flow to/from incident
  • IR flight cost
  • IR products list
The Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) combines fire bahavior and spread modeling, geospatial data, and a deliberative planning process to develop and document decisions on wildland fires. WFDSS is a web-based application, located at https://wfdss.usgs.gov/

Typical GISS requests (i.e., requests from a Fire Behavior Analyst (FBAN), Long-Term Analyst (LTAN), Strategic Operational Planner (SOPL), or Line Officer such as a District Ranger or Field Office Manager):
  • Create maps of fire behavior outputs for planning and operations meetings
  • Add Management Action Points (MAPs) to GISS products such as the Situation Unit or Operations Maps
Request an Account as a “Viewer” from  https://wfdss.usgs.gov/
  • "Request Account" is linked on the left-hand side of the home page.
  • All federal email addresses are granted a Viewer (read-only) access to WFDSS 
  • Non-Fed Government employees will have to have documentation of IT Security Training, and their account will be reviewed by an Editor in the user's Geographic Area (GA) who can sponsor state/local users
  • Use the "Training Resources" link on the left-hand side of the home page to become familiar with the application.
Incident Data Downloads

Communication/Staying Informed
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Updated 4/10/18
  1. How do we find the IRWIN ID for an incident? The IRWIN ID can be found in multiple places. Some of the options are detailed in Locating the IRWIN ID and Other Important Attributes.
  2. When will the FGX extension be available? FGX is currently in a third round of beta testing (2/22/18). This site will contain information when it is released. The FGX tool is not necessary to use the Event GDB.
  3. Will the Event GDB and FGX work with a ArcGIS Desktop Basic License? Yes, it is being designed without annotation included in the database so it will work with a basic license. GISS can add annotation to the database or include annotation in a second database using the process that works best for the incident.
  4. What is the difference between FGX and the Event Geodatabase - the terminology is not consistent? This is a good point and going forward there will be a clear distinction drawn between the NWCG data standard (the Event GDB) and the tool (FGX) that helps GISS work with the database. The Event GDB is an NWCG standard passed in the spring of 2017. It is a database schema that can use used in ArcMap, ArcGIS Pro, or other GIS software packages. FGX is not required to use the Event GDB - in fact the database has been used successfully for several years with only ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro. The FGX Add-In will save steps for the GISS on incidents by auto-populating database attributes, calculating acres and length, and other time saving features.
  5. What about older FIMT tools that are not available in ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro? There are a few items from the FIMT toolbar that are not contained in ESRI software. The list below details which of these items are being worked on and anticipated release:
    1. Incident Symbol resizing - increase by 10% or decrease by 10% - we are exploring the best option to implement this functionality in ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro. Check back on these FAQs for more information in the coming months
    2. Automated Archiving to Shapefiles - This can be done with ArcToolbox tools. Any functionality of the geodatabase will be lost when converting to shapefiles of course so this should be avoided. No plans to develop a tool to assist with this.
    3. Create Firepoint Table - Beta tool completed and in testing - close to release.
    4. Fireline Report - calculation of lengths by fireline type - Beta tool completed and in testing - close to release.
    5. Automated calculation of acres, length of lines, and lat/long for points. This will be a feature of FGX released in the spring.
  6. Will FGX connect the incident Event GDB to the National Incident Feature Service in the Enterprise Geospatial Portal (EGP)? No, for ArcMap this is done with the standard "Create Local Copy" tool that allows the GISS to sync local data with EGP for use in AGOL and Collector. Information and workflow for using the Event GDB can be found HERE.
  7. Is Suppression Repair Symbology being built into the Event GDB? The suppression repair symbology works off the RepairStatus field in the Event GDB. It is an alternative way to symbolize the same incident features used for IAP maps or the like. Better put - it is the same exact feature class symbolized two different ways. We wanted to avoid splitting the suppression repair features out into their own database, since the GISS would then need to maintain two representations of the same data.
  8. Will there be any certification or assurance that existing GISS professionals are up to speed and capable of using the new standards and technology? No. There is currently no plan to "re-certify" existing GISS. One suggestion would be to have existing GISS review the Using Event GDB and COTS Tools Lesson in the GISS Introductory Class. This will provide the basics of using the new Event GDB and current workflows.
  9. I work for the BLM, I have all software needed for a fire, but I am not able download drivers for printers. I have had trouble last season requesting admin access to my laptop. Is there a protocol or avenue to get access to my laptop to download printer/plotter drivers? This is an issue for many agencies as gaining IT privileges for computer access is going away. This is really a case-by-case issue and needs to be brought up with your local IT shop. Reach out to your GSC contact to see if there is an agency specific method for gaining access.
  10. Why are you telling us to use 10.5 when the USFS is only up to 10.3? This was a decision of the GSC to ensure the best interoperability on fire incidents. It is very important that GISS responding to incidents be using the same software version. Every agency has access to the 10.5.1 software right now. Processes and contacts were listed above to help you access and install the software.
  11. How do I set up a FireNet account to join the forum? Please refer to the FireNet Portal Home Page and the FireNet Information Page to answer questions about FireNet accounts.
  12. The last several fire seasons I have been directed to create a 'P Line' by SITL's on different teams. It appears that this pseudo fire line type is becoming a popular buzz word among certain teams. If this is a valid fire line type, it would be nice to have a standard ICS symbol assigned to it. If it is not a valid type, perhaps it could be communicated to team PSCs that it shouldn't be used? It is currently not a symbol listed in GSTOP. Each incident has the ability to create custom symbols deemed necessary for that incident based on the guidance of the SITL. Existing symbology (think uncontrolled fire edge) should not be modified, but new symbols can be added. There will be a GSTOP review and update over the next few years. This is an issue for the operations community to decide. If they want a P-Line symbol it should be created and added to GSTOP. The process of working with the operations community will be starting next fall.
  13. We have up graded to 10.6. Can we discuss version issues? The official incident version for 2018 will be 10.5.1. GISS should get this version installed prior to the fire. If this is different than your agency version you should have the software and license information available to install 10.5.1 on your own.
  14. How do I get access to Arcgis Pro using my NIFC AGOL account? You must request an ArcGIS Pro license using the NIFC AGOL tech support FORM. Once approved you will be able to work with Pro only when connected to the internet.
  15. In 2017 my team was set up with 3 standard AGOL groups -- Working, Mobile Editing, Archive. Are these to continue being the standard groups for teams? There are also two other groups - Public Information and Viewer - that may be used as well. The full five represent the "Standard" groups. Has there been any discussion about standardizing groups based on incident instead of team? Why/why not? We have decided on using Team groups since teams have designated contacts and someone to manage the content. Incident specific content - web maps, hosted services, etc. are easy to transfer ownership as teams rotate through on larger fires. But it really comes down to stewardship of the groups. From the team level that can be managed, but if the groups were at the incident level they would be more difficult to manage.
  16. What can we do to set up AGOL ahead of our team getting mobilized? (Besides me, the GISS, getting a log-in...) Groups can be created (see above) for your team, you can have accounts created for team members, have temp accounts on hand in case they are needed, you can get your web map templates set up and ready for use, and most importantly you can take training in the Event and NIFC Org workflows to make you successful this summer. Learning on the incident IS NOT recommended. 
  17. Are all of the template maps, feature services, and workflows on AGOL set and ready for 2018 season or do you expect any of that to change in the next few months? All of these have been updated and released.
  18. Will IRINs be able to share data via web feature services this season? No, IRINs will be posting products to the FTP site as in previous seasons.
  19. If the master GDB is a local copy of the National Incident Feature Service, should the title used in the incident_data folder include "Event" or "NIFS"? Use "Event" to identify the GDB schema and ArcMap and version to identify the tool used to create the GDB.
  20. Is S-341 required to be a GISS? I have seen trainees on incidents with open task books who have not taken the course. It is only required for USFS and Calfire. Due to the limited number of classes, it is difficult to get all USFS and CalFire students in each year. We moved the ENTIRE S-341 curriculum to the GISS Introductory Class on the web and made it publically available. We strongly suggest all trainees and fully qualified GISS should take the lessons and learn the new workflows.
  21. What about Acrobat Pro on those rentals from SmartSource, we need that desperately? There are license issues with Acrobat Pro. Those responsible for the contracts are currently working with the Fire IT community to address this.
  22. Will computers in the GIS trailers also be upgraded to match the rental contract computers? VIPR (support contract) is currently updating their requirements. We have passed this information on to them.
  23. Can you address concerns over groups (AGOL) and folks not managing the groups after transitioning with various teams? Unfortunately there are different GISS skill levels between teams and while one team may be using AGOL the next team may not leading to stale information on the site or national incident feature service. If this is the case the NIFC Admins (wildfireresponse@firenet.gov)  can be contacted to remove outdated content.
  24. Will the next webinar include discussion on predictive outlooks? No, that information can be found on the national predictive services web page.
  25. I can't see the GISS Folder in the EGP National Incident Service using my EGP login in ArcPro. Does that mean I do not have the correct credentials? Yes, in order to see the GISS folder at the EGP REST endpoint you will need the “GISS” role in EGP. Please request this when asking for a new account or request that this be added to your account via the EGP contact page.
  26. What is the REST Service? The REST service is the URL that can be used to access the GIS services. This is a feature of ArcGIS Server and in this case we were referring to the EGP REST service for the national incident feature service. Tutorial on REST services.
  27. Are there any folks who use QGIS on incidents? Do you know of any ICS/GSTOP resources for QGIS? The use of QGIS is not recommended for use on incidents. The use of non-standard software will impact team transitions and make it difficult for incoming resources if they do not use QGIS. I am not aware of any QGIS specific resources.
  28. As a GIS technician/analyst contractor for USFS how can I attend a GISS class? You can take the GISS Introductory Class. It is public. You can also put in a nomination for the S-341 Classroom Training if your supervisor approves.
  29. NAP Accounts and FTP Access? The required steps to get a NAP account and submit a request for upload access to the Incident Specific Data directory can found on the main page at http://ftp.nifc.gov/ 
  30. Are we required to use the Event GDB? What about FIMT? The Event GDB is the approved NWCG data standard for storing and sharing incident data. It is to be used on all incidents. The FIMT tool does not produce a standard GDB and is no longer supported. FIMT should not be used. Check out the What Happened to FIMT section on this web page.
  31. Since neither my work laptop or PC will run ArcGIS Pro, will all rental fire computers be powerful enough to run Pro without constantly crashing? (Both my computers are GIS specific with extra RAM and upgraded video cards). There may be other issues going on with your ArcGIS Pro install. As long as your computer meets the minimum specifications it should run the software. Personally I am using a four year old laptop and Pro runs fine. I would suggest putting in an ESRI help desk ticket to figure out the source of the crashing. It may be an incorrect display driver or other issue.
  32. How are we going to use ArcGIS Pro as platform for fire mapping if internet service is poor or unreliable? ArcGIS Pro does not require an internet connection to function. It can run completely without internet just like ArcMap.
Previous Webinars:

2018 GISS Webinar - 2/21/18

2018 GISS Spring Webinar - 4/18/18

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