US Forest Service (USFS) Fighting Wildfires with Mobile Maps – and 10 Wildfire Mapping Resources

Well, here we go once again, things are really heating up in the SouthWest and wildfire season is upon us. Many of you, our friends and colleagues, live, work and play in areas that are prone to heat and wildfires. It is also reasuring to see and hear about some of the great technology that the geospatial industry has developed to help plan for wild season and then eventually to help in the response. Once resource of interest being used by the US Forest service is PDF Maps Mobile, a solution from Avenza Systems. We thought we would share some details of this interesting solution.


The United States Forest Service (USFS) fights wildfires and other natural disasters in more than 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands, totaling an estimated 193 million acres or 30% of all federally-managed lands. Every year thousands of acres of forests are engulfed in fires. Recognizing the benefits of geospatial technology, the USFS GMO has included Avenza System Inc.’s award-winning PDF Maps mobile app in order to deliver interactive digital maps to fire fighters and emergency response teams situated in forests across the United States and its territories.

USFS benefits from Avenza’s PDF Maps app geospatial technology in enabling its thousands of fire-fighters and support personnel. The PDF Maps app aids emergency response teams who use digital devices for work in the field. The PDF Maps app provides constant access to geographic information and points of interest, with additional interactive features such as measuring, place marking and location tagging. Avenza’s PDF Maps app operates without the risk of lost reception due to cell tower proximity and does not rely on an internet connection to use map data. It uses GPS to obtain and display an accurate position on the ground regardless of network connectivity.

What is PDF Maps?

PDF Maps is a mobile map application that enables you to download maps for offline use on your Apple iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. Use your device’s built-in GPS to track your location on the map. Plot and record information about locations, import and export placemarks, measure distance and area, and even plot photos. You can easily browse and purchase maps from all over the world using the convenient in-app PDF Maps Store.


  • Read geospatial PDF, GeoTIFF, and GeoPDF® maps
  • Browse, preview, purchase and download professionally created maps from the PDF Maps Store, including 1:24,000 scale USGS topographic maps for the entire United States
  • Access and load maps through iTunes File Sharing or Android file system or over a Wi-Fi or cellular network. Saved maps can be used without the need for a live network connection (offline).
  • Quickly view, zoom and pan maps using gestures (pinch, drag and flick, double tap)
  • Much More!

PDF Maps

The PDF Maps app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store free of charge for personal recreational use. Commercial, government and academic use licensing is available for a nominal annual fee. For more information about PDF Maps, visit the Avenza website at http://www.avenza.comor the PDF Maps website at

Wildfire Mapping Resources

See Also these 10, must bookmark wildfire incident and mapping resources:

  1. Read more about how the USFS is using PDF Maps
  2. The Wildfire Activity Map in ArcGIS Online
  3. CalFire – active wildfire mapping system
  4. Esri wildfire response system
  5. GeoMAC Wildfire viewer
  6. InciWeb Incident information system
  7. USGS real-time wildfire information
  8. Mapbox mapping wildfires with data feeds
  9. Global incident wildfire maps
  10. Active Fire Mapping Program

Wildfire Public Information Map

View continuously updated information about wildfires and their perimeters from the USGS and other agencies. You can also see live weather warnings and wind information from NOAA, as well as live weather radar from AccuWeather. Get a local perspective on events by turning on geotagged social media from Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr on the Layers tab.

What online map resources do you use to monitor and track wildfire activity? Please do share with us on twitter @geojobegis

Avatar photo

From our GEOPowered Cloud to custom solutions, GEO Jobe is committed to showing clients how geospatial thinking can guide them to save time, money, and make better business decisions. The power of GIS, Simplified!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.