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2019 GISS Info

This page is continuously under development - check back as materials are being added regularly.
Updated 3/15/19

Please register for the second 2019 Fire Season GIS Specialist (GISS) Webinar on May 1, 2019 1:00 PM MDT at: 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8392923396309554177 (if clicking on the link does not work please copy/paste URL into your browser)

Questions can be submitted before or after the webinar by filling out the form at THIS LINK. Answers will be added to the FAQ section at the end of the page.

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 2019 fire season. The target audience is GISS, GISS-T, SITL and other incident positions interested in 2019 GIS issues.

***The recording of the first 2019 GISS Webinar from March is at the bottom of this page.***  

NEW!!! The GISS Workflow has been released. This single workflow ties together major Fire GISS incident activities and integrates the National Incident Feature Service and ArcGIS Online. This workflow is a core piece of the S-341 curriculum and  2020 GSTOP updates. Please review and implement the new workflow. NEW!!!

ArcGIS Version - Fire Season and S-341
The Geospatial Subcommittee (GSC) recommends 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.

ArcGIS Pro Real World Computer Specifications - thoughts on laptop requirements to run ArcGIS Pro from a GIS leader.

Agency Specific GIS Software Contacts: (NEW INFO)
  • USFS - ArcMap 10.6.1 is available for download within USFS. Contact GIS Helpdesk via ticket at GIS Helpdesk Request (USFS Internal Only). USFS users should understand that the VDC and Citrix environment for NFS / NRM business is running at the 10.5.1 level. 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 - ArcMap version 10.6.1 is currently in the CM process at the BLM NOC. It should be available by the end of March. Please check back for information on installing.
  • 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
Make sure all ESRI Software has the Transport Layer Security (TLS) Patch

NWCG Wildland Fire Event Data Standard 
Significant updates to the Event Geodatabase (GDB) were made for fire season 2019. Many people provided feedback on the Event GDB and those comments will be taken into account for this change. Due to the government shut down we are behind in getting the National Incident Feature Service Updated and making the GBD template available. Please check back - updates will be posted soon. Additional information about the Event GDB and its use can be found HERE.

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.

2019 National Incident Feature Service links, template maps, and workflow processes have been delayed. Please check back for more information. Production services should be updated by end of March 2019.

Document detailing 2019 changes:  2019 Updates NIFS and Event GDB

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".

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.

Enterprise Geospatial Portal (EGP) - Request an EGP account
New items available with EGP:
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
Check back for further information. Contracts are being negotiated, nothing in place now.

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.  

For 2019 post incident products to the FTP site. GISSes are required to upload fire incident data (the Event geodatabase) to EGP (the National Incident Feature Service). The speeds availability to GeoMac, Inciweb, and other applications. 

GSTOP Updates
2019 GSTOP Addendum Document COMING SOON
  • 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
  • Perimeter (Event GDB - incident data) upload to EGP (NIFS)
  • FTP.NIFC.GOV for uploading map products only
  • Updated GISS workflow
  • 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 currently being addressed by the GSC and other relevant NWCG committees (OTC). Look for more information in the 2019 addendum.

2020 - planning full GSTOP publication update.

Current GSTOP Folder Template - 2019 Incident Folder Template including the 2019 Blank Event GDB, layer files, ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro templates.

(2018 GSTOP Addendum Document, download HERE)

One S-341 class will be in May of 2019. 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.

2019 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 10,000 registered users on the site. The site can be used by federal, state, and local resources involved in fire suppression and fuels management activities.

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.

2019 workflows and templates have been delayed. Please check back for updates.

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

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

Avenza Maps 3.6 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).

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/

Incident Data Downloads

Communication/Staying Informed

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Updated 3/5/19
2019 Questions
  1. I keep hearing discussions about using Pro on incidents. When is this acceptable if 10.6.1 is the standard for 2019? You are encouraged to use Pro on incidents this summer. Keep in mind that many GISS are not familiar with Pro. When transitioning data and maps to a new team make sure they receive the information in a format they can use. This may include creating .mxd files for them.
  2. If we need to upload incident GDB to EGP, how to do this? Two options. First is to load to the national incident feature service directly via ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro. That is currently available and is part of the GISS workflow. The other option is in testing and allows a GISS to upload a zipped GDB to EGP. We hope to have that available in the next few months.
  3. Do you have templates available for ArcGIS Pro to help with the map projects? Yes, those can be downloaded as part of the 2019 GSTOP directory structure. Pro template under the /project/ folder. Current GSTOP Folder Template - 2019 Incident Folder Template including the 2019 Blank Event GDB, layer files, ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro templates.
  4. Has the directory structure changed since the 2018 fire season? Slightly. A folder called "edit" has been added under incident_data to store the Edit Incident GDB used in an offline workflow. Please review the GISS Workflow for more information.
  5. I have heard there is a licensing bug that effects ArcGIS Pro version 2.3? Is it still recommended for season 2019? There is a bug (Esri BUG-000120201) that does not allow Pro to be opened after checking out a Concurrent Use License from License Manager 2018 and then going offline. Borrowing a license from ArcGIS Online doesn't have this issue. It is too early to say at this time (3/5/19) if this will effect the fire season. If ESRI provides a hotfix the version for the season stands. If not recommended Pro version is 2.2.4.
  6. What has be done to minimize cross incident deletions and modifications of event features and attributes on EGP? Most of the occurrences of those issues last year were due to the use of scripts to delete and then reload data into the NIFS. If an AOI was chosen with another incident then their information was deleted. We have discouraged the use of scripting as well as deleting incident data and reloading. The GISS Workflow contains the best practices for working with the NIFS and local geodatabases. Throughout the season support personnel will be on the lookout for any deleted data.
  7. When the FeatureAccess attribute is set to "Public", I understand the feature will be copied to a public facing service. Will the information in this public facing service be archived at any point during the fire season? The NIFS is archived so the source data will be mainted. There is no need to archive the public service since it will be read only. All edits to the NIFS are immediately added to archive so all data in the service is backed up.
  8. Will IRINs be able to share data via web feature services this season? There is a new IR feature service that has been developed to allow IRINs to share data with an incident via feature services. This must be agreed to by the incident and the IRIN before it can occur.
  9. Is there a different website than this one for the NAP account? https://nap.nwcg.gov/NAP/  All I get is a blank screen. NAP only works in Internet Explorer.
  10. Will there be a TRAINING/TESTING National Incident Feature Service available in the near future? Yes, once the 2019 updates have been moved to the Production NIFS then the training services will be back online.
  11. Where do I upload requested Shapefiles/KML if the NIFC FTP site is not suitable? The NIFC FTP site should not be used as the location for posting your incident Event geodatabase. Per upcoming GSTOP update that MUST be loaded to the National Incident Feature Service. Any other derivative datasets may be posted to the FTP site.
  12. Is anyone updating the GISS hard drives this year? That is done at the local or GACC level and we don’t have any contacts for that.
  13. Is there a data standard for what goes on fire hard drives? Follow GSTOP wherever possible. Most of the data will fall under base_data and the standard folders and structure should be used.
  14. Will there be Survey123 forms available in the NIFC Org that write to new Structure Triage and Accountable Property feature classes in the National Incident Feature Service? Yes there will be. Since the Survey123 forms will write to the NIFS, deployment will be much easier for teams wanting to use Survey123. Available late March or early April.
  15. Will the workflow for the Approval Workflow (Advanced Workflows link) stay the same or be updated? SITL personnel were not aware of this process last year? Nationally there is no outreach process to the SITL community to inform them of current best practices. Educating the team SITL or single resource SITL will be up to the GISS.
  16. Will there be a refresher class for GISS? In the past there was a class held for GISS? All of the materials required for a refresher are posted to the GIS Specialist Training site. The materials are presented as short webinars, how to documentation, and support materials for all of the current workflows and data standards. These were designed to meet the refresher need for GISS. Additional webinars will be held this spring for some of the new changes, but there is no class scheduled.
  17. Is there a feature service for the lightning data available? There are multiple map services available for the lightning strike data. The can be found on the EGP REST endpoint. Requires login. Data can be downloaded in EGP. Look at the EGP information above for a PDF on downloading the data.
  18. Has there been any interest or work on creating a "real-time" TFR feature service for use in EGP? Yes, and it has been completed and made available at the EGP REST endpoint. It is updated every 15 minutes from the TFR data on the FAA website. TFR data feature server link.
2018 Questions
  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. 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% - this will not be implemented for ArcMap. A new set of symbols is being developed for ArcGIS Pro.
    2. Create Firepoint Table - Make Event Point Coordinate Table on Tools page.
    3. Fireline Report - calculation of lengths by fireline type - Nothing planned.
    4. Automated calculation of acres, length of lines, and lat/long for points. Nothing planned.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Why are you telling us to use 10.x when the USFS is only up to 10.x? 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.
  7. 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.
  8. The last several fire seasons I have been directed to create a 'P Line' (Personnel Line - a trail or route for access to fire) 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.
  9. We have up graded to 10.6.1. Can we discuss version issues? The official incident version for 2019 will be 10.6.1. GISS should get this version installed prior to the fire. If this is different than your agency version you should understand the issues when working in a mixed version environment.
  10. 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.
  11. In 2018 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.
  12. 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. 
  13. If the Master Incident 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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/ 
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
2019 Webinar recorded 3/6/19:

2019 Spring GISS Webinar

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